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Helping people with a mental illness obtain work: the Health Optimisation Program for Employment

By David J. Castle, Caroline Crosse, Dea Morgain, Caitlin McDowell, Susan Rossell, Neil Thomas, Andrea Phillipou, Monica Gilbert, Gaye Moore, Ellie Fossey and Carol Harvey


Objective: Inclusion in work and education remains problematic for many people with a mental illness. We describe a structured programme – the Health Optimisation Program for Employment – that supported people with a mental illness to gain employment or commence studies. Method: Twenty hours of the Health Optimisation Program for Employment were delivered to 600 individuals. Participants were asked to complete an evaluation survey encompassing vocational status and ratings of self-efficacy. Results: Of the 364 participants who completed the baseline assessment, 168 responded to the evaluation survey 6 months after the delivery of the Health Optimisation Program for Employment. Of these, 21.5% had started a new job, while a further 42.8% were either volunteering or studying. Satisfaction with the programme was high and self-efficacy ratings improved significantly over the short term only. Conclusions: The Health Optimisation Program for Employment requires further evaluation using rigorous scientific methodology but these initial results are encouraging in terms of vocational attainment for people with a mental illness, in the Australian context

Topics: mental illness, employment, psychoeducation, self-management, vocational rehabilitation, peer educator, self-efficacy
Publisher: Sage
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1039856216654400
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