Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Work/vocational/educational activities and mental illness

Work/vocational/educational activities and mental illness

The links between unemployment and mental illness are well documented and researched. Work or productive activity that includes education and voluntary work provides an array of benefits from income, structure and enjoyment to a sense of identity and worth. Interventions that focus on work might include activities to increase skills related to work performance, such as:

• concentration

• time management

• social interaction

• assertion skills

• organisational skills.

Practitioners might liaise on behalf of the client to negotiate a gradual return to working hours or for an alteration in their workload, such as flexi-time.

For some mental health clients who have had difficulty sustaining or obtaining

work, a vocational assessment is undertaken to identify interests and skills. Referrals to agencies that support and encourage people with mental health problems into work might be indicated. The client might then be offered the opportunity to be placed in open employment with support from an employment adviser. This is in

line with the Government policy of social inclusion and has meant a move away from supported work schemes and sheltered workshops specifically designed for

people with disabilities. Voluntary work is frequently recommended to clients as an initial step in working towards paid employment. Advice on the range of current

supported work and training schemes and financial benefits are available from Disability Employment Advisers at local Job Centres, similar links can be made

with schools and colleges to obtain student support services.

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