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Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Psychiatric Disorders and Other Disabilities

Mathematica | Bonnie O'Day
April 2014 | Report/Brief

Many people with psychiatric disorders rely on public benefits, and relatively few receive services they need to help them become or stay employed. Along with financial disadvantages, unemployment can lead to social isolation and low self-esteem, which can place people at an increased risk for further mental health problems. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded the Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Psychiatric Disorders and Other Disabilities Project to identify effective programs that help individuals with psychiatric disorders find and retain employment. The project also explored how these programs can be funded through the Affordable Care Act and other sources.

Mathematica conducted a comprehensive literature review of services and supports that facilitate employment for people with psychiatric disorders. The review focused on three subgroups: (1) long-term clients of mental health services, (2) workers at risk of job loss due to a mental health condition, and (3) those in need of early intervention services, such as transition-age youth. We drew on new information from recent demonstration projects, as well as from the growing body of literature on early intervention to prevent psychosis. We also analyzed data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine service-use trajectories of vulnerable populations who might be expected to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. 

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