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The recovery journey : employment support for people with depression and other mental illnesses
journal contributionposted on 2008-06-01, 00:00 authored by Ian Munro, Karen-Leigh Edward
This paper presents the qualitative findings of a larger mixed method study aimed to articulate factors that clients and staff of the Disability Employment Network (DEN) identify in relation to re-engagement into the workforce. The DEN is a supported job training and employment program funded by the Australian Federal Government, established to assist clients with health disabilities, including mental health diagnoses, to seek and retain employment. Two DEN sites participated in the study (one regional and one metropolitan). Semi structured interviews and focus groups were undertaken with seven employment counsellors and 16 clients until data saturation occurred. Analysis of the narrative data identified two overarching emergent concepts articulated by clients and employment counsellors: employment enablers and employment barriers. The notion of recovery and re-engagement in the workforce in the context of mental illness is complex. The qualitative results of this study highlight the essential nature of supporting clients’ mental health and vocational needs concurrently through such means as service collaboration, vocational peer support and, importantly, provision of employment support congruent with phase of recovery.