People with mental health issues want to work. Employment offers a valued social role, provides social and economic benefits, and is a potent enabler of recovery. However, few people with mental health issues, particularly those with a psychotic disorder, are engaged in paid work.

The Survey of High Impact Psychosis reported that only 21.5% of people with psychotic disorders were in paid employment, with most in part-time or casual roles1.

 We know that serious mental illness impacts on people’s educational and vocational opportunities, and that stigma held by employers, health professionals and the community contribute to low employment rates.

Your Life Your Choice employment principles believes all people with mental health issues can work when provided with the right support in finding and keeping a job. Helping people identify and realise their employment aspirations is a key component of all our programs.

 We focus on:

  • helping people find work that is paid and reflects their interest and skills
  • assisting people in developing skills and supportive networks to help them keep their job
  • engaging employers, families and friends in supporting people with mental health issues in work

Evidence base for your Life Your Choice employment approach There is a well-established evidence base supporting the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model as the most effective approach to helping people find and keep a job

This model:

  • aims to assist people into competitive employment
  • is open to all those who want to work
  • tries to find jobs consistent with people’s preferences
  • works quickly
  • brings employment specialists into clinical teams
  • sees employment specialists develop relationships with employers based upon a person’s work preferences
  • provides time unlimited, individualised support for the person and their employer
  •  includes benefits counselling

There is evidence that employment outcomes, particularly tenure, are improved when natural supports are engaged to assist the person to find and keep a job, and supported education is provided to support and build job skills

Morgan, VA, et al. (2011). People living with psychotic illness 2010: Report