According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness, the U.S. should strive to invest in vocational strategies that work for individuals with mental illness. These individuals encompass a variety of talents and abilities, and work in a wide range of sectors within the economy.
The organization notes that for such individuals, employment is more than just a way to make a living, as it offers a sense of purpose as well as opportunities for learning and working with others. Additionally, it offers hope for those with mental illness, a very important aspect to their recovery.
According to the NAMI, there are several effective employment programs, but employment rates among the mentally ill have declined continuously over the past decade despite nearly $4 billion in annual federal funding to support employment and employment rates for the mentally ill.
Instead of adopting a “place and train” approach, which has been proven to be more successful when it comes to helping the mentally ill enter or reenter the workforce, several state vocational rehabilitation programs maintain focus on pre-employment training, or “train and place.”
Another point is that state vocational rehabilitation models emphasize time-limited assistance, as opposed to long-term or intermittent assistance, more useful approaches for many individuals for the mentally ill who require support in the workplace.