Overcoming Unemployment And Mental Illness

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Sheila, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator


    CBS Evening News: "Supported Employment" Helps Mentally Ill Patients Find, And Keep, Jobs In Rough Economic Times

    (CBS) While unemployment for the overall population is running at 6.7 percent, for people coping with psychiatric difficulties, it reaches 90 percent. For those struggling with both, there's a special program that not only dramatically lowers unemployment, but also fosters self-respect, reports CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.

    Steve Cromer really loves going to work.

    "It's hard to explain psychologically," Cromer says. "I feel like I'm on cloud nine all the time."

    Cromer's been diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses, and at 36, this is the first job he's ever been able to hold for more than a couple of months, LaPook reports.

    He's succeeding now because of a program called "supported employment," meaning that an entire team of specialists is behind him, and nurturing every aspect of his success.

    "There are seven basic principles to supported employment," says Nicole Clevenger, who teaches those principles to groups of mentally ill people hoping to find work.

    She's not only an advocate, she's a client, LaPook reports. And if she had to decide which is worse, coping with mental illness or struggling to find work…

    "Being unemployed, without a doubt," she says.

    Thirty-one and bi-polar, Clevenger is a single mother of two who fled job after job because of anxiety and panic attacks.

    "I felt like a failure," she says. "I was ashamed."

    Advocates of supported employment say almost half the mentally ill who want to work could be working, under the right conditions - a psychiatrist, an understanding boss and a job coach who, in Clevenger's case, is a lifeline when anxiety strikes.

    "She's willing to walk me through, she'll all but hold by hand if I need her to," Clevenger says.

    Supported employment turned her life around, she says.

    "Working has helped me further my recovery more than any other single thing I've ever done," Clevenger says. "Including medication."

    The program costs about $3,000 per patient for the first year only - and then begins to pay for itself. But there are no federal funds for it, LaPook reports, and only about a dozen states willing to pay. For people like Steve Cromer, who are unemployed, mentally ill and approaching middle-age, supported employment also provides relief for their families. In Cromer's case, it's a huge weight off his mother's shoulders.

    "It's just very upsetting, it kind of tears you up inside to know, you know, what's going to happen to him when we're not here to help him," says Carol Cromer.

    But with support, Cromer is on his way to helping himself.

    "I just want you to be proud of me," Steve tells his mom.

    "Well I am," Carol says.
  2. Sheila,

    Thanks for posting this link! I am a huge fan of supported employment and I am so glad to see it getting exposure in the news. I have seen some great success with it, and it just makes so much more sense to put our money into such a productive program rather than paying folks to stay home.

    It is really a win/win for all concerned. The employers that accept the program on their work site often find themselves utilizing the job coaches for all of their employees. It's really that good!
  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    This would describe husband. It is just not worth him working. It is too stressful for him, and then you add in his chronic pain problem. I wish supported employment was available here.
  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    That is how I feel at times!
    It just hoovers because I know I am semi smart. I now am semi friendly... I am a hard worker.
    But between my stupid issues with life. Dealing K and N. Then I don't sleep or am fully worked up. The thought of working sends me into a tailspin.
    Last night again, no sleep... how could I go and work somewhere?
    It just makes me feel even worse for the people who don't get to play stay at home mom like me.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I really like the idea of supported employment. It just makes sense.

    I also think that putting some sort of job matching in place for people would help them to find (or carve out) a corner of the employment market that suits their needs.

    There are a lot of jobs that are well suited for people with...erm...non-traditional thinking patterns, emotional needs, etc. and some of them are just not that well known outside of the limited group of people working in those fields.

    I wonder if there's a way for the supported employment people to partner with career counsellors or something, to help people become more aware of the options out there.

    My line of work seems to be so well suited to Aspies, people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), etc. But when I talk to people, most have never heard of what I do and don't even realize that it's a job. We need to get the right information to people.

    (Sorry. I'm running on no sleep today, so it's hard to shut me off once I get rolling. I'll stop rambling now...)

  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I've never heard of supported employment. Thank you.