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Psychiatr Serv. 2004 May;55(5):513-5.

Supplementing supported employment with workplace skills training.

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  • 1University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute, USA.


Introduction by the column editors: Supported employment, as designed for persons with serious and persistent mental illness, has been termed individual placement and support. In two randomized controlled trials (1,2), clients who received individual placement and support services were more likely to obtain at least one job in the competitive sector, to work more hours, and to have a higher total income than their counterparts who received more traditional types of vocational rehabilitation. However, individual placement and support did not improve the length of time the employed participants kept their jobs. An adjunctive or additional element of individual placement and support, aimed at improving the job tenure of individuals with mental illness, would be a constructive contribution to the vocational rehabilitation for this population. In a previous Rehab Rounds column, Wallace and colleagues (3) described the development of the workplace fundamental skills module, a highly structured and user-friendly curriculum designed to teach workers with mental illness the social and workplace skills needed to keep their jobs. The workplace fundamental skills module supplements individual placement and support by conveying specific skills that enable workers to learn the requirements of their jobs, anticipate the stressors associated with their jobs, and cope with stressors by using a problem-solving process. The earlier report described the production and validation of the module's content. The purpose of this month's column is to present the preliminary results of a randomized comparison of the module's effects on job retention, symptoms, and community functioning when coupled with individual placement and support. To enable wide generalization of the findings of the study, the program was conducted in a typical community mental health center.

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