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Study by Dartmouth Health Researchers Finds That People with Mental Illness Who Receive Supported Employment Services Have Improved Quality of Life

June 29, 2016

On June 6, 2016, the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice released a study showing that most people with serious mental illness can improve the quality of their lives if they are given sufficient employment supports in the form of individual placement and support services. Under the individual placement and support (IPS) model, an employment specialist helps an individual with a mental health disability find and hold down a job, working closely with the individual’s mental health service providers. Robert Drake, a professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth, reports that finding work led to increased self-esteem, community participation, and social integration for individuals with mental illnesses. Earlier studies have shown that individuals who find employment through supported employment services also use fewer health services than those who have not found work. 

The study also found that approximately 60 percent of individuals with mental illnesses could obtain employment if they had access to supported employment services. However, according to the study’s researchers, most individuals do not have access to these services due to a lack of funding. Medicaid is the nation’s largest source of funding for mental health care, but does not pay for supported employment services in all states.