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Psychiatr Serv. 2000 Nov;51(11):1355-7.

The Michigan Supported Education Program.

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  • 1University of Michigan School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, 48109-1106, USA.


With the advent of improved pharmacological treatments, empirically tested psychiatric rehabilitation techniques, and an increased emphasis on the empowerment of mental health consumers, many adults with psychiatric disabilities now have a realistic chance of reentering their communities and reestablishing meaningful and productive lives. Because work is a fundamental component of adjustment in adult life, helping individuals obtain and maintain jobs has been viewed as the sine qua non of psychiatric rehabilitation. More recently, however, rehabilitation practitioners have realized that many adults with psychiatric disabilities have the desire and the requisite motivation and educational background to attend college (1). Hence rehabilitation practitioners have recognized that helping individuals restart their postsecondary educational pursuits is a desirable, valid, and viable option (2,3). Supported education is being used increasingly to encourage adults with mental illness to enroll in and complete postsecondary education by providing assistance, preparation, and ongoing counseling (4). Several reports have suggested that supported education programs contribute to positive outcomes such as graduation, acquisition of marketable skills, employment, and positive self-esteem (5,6,7). In this month's column, Carol Mowbray, Ph.D., describes the Michigan Supported Education Program and provides a rationale and empirical validation for its inclusion as an integral modality of psychiatric rehabilitation.

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