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Perspectives on barriers to employment for job seekers with mental illness and additional substance-use problems.

Harris LM, et al. Health Soc Care Community. 2014.


This paper examines the barriers to employment faced by job seekers (JS) with mental illness and additional substance-use issues. Semi-structured interviews concerning barriers to employment for JS with mental illness and substance-use problems and strategies to improve employment outcomes were conducted with stakeholders associated with an employment service provider specialising in mental illness (n = 17). Stakeholders were JS, family members who provide significant support to JS [support persons (SP)] and staff [employment staff (ES)]. Data were collected between May and August 2009 at the premises of the employment service provider in metropolitan Sydney. Thematic analysis of transcribed interview data was conducted to develop a meaningful data framework. The expectations of JS and SP regarding employment outcomes were higher than those of ES. Length of time unemployed was perceived as the most important barrier to future employment associated with mental illness, and substance-use problems were associated with lower, more variable motivation, restrictions on the environments where JS could work and more negative community and employer perceptions. The findings are consistent with studies from non-vocational settings and provide direction for meeting the needs of clients with mental illness and additional substance-use problems. Ensuring alignment between JS and ES concerning service goals and expected timeframes may improve JS motivation, satisfaction with service delivery and ultimately, employment outcomes.


23829791 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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