Arlington, Va.—One of the best steps in recovery from mental illness is a job, but the national unemployment rate for individuals receiving public mental health services is approximately 80 percent, according to a report issued by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
The states with the five highest levels of unemployed persons in the public mental health care system are:
- West Virginia 91.9 percent
- Pennsylvania 90.6 percent
Approximately 60 percent of the 7.1 million people receiving public mental health services nationwide want to work, but less than 2 percent receive supported employment opportunities provided by states.
NAMI’s, report, Road to Recovery: Employment and Mental Illness (www.nami.org/work), NAMI’s report highlights model programs nationally and proposes model legislation for states.
- One model legislative option is for a state to focus on Individual Placement and Support (IPS).
- The other is Vocational Supports (VS), representing a broader comprehensive approach, including supported education.
- “NAMI wants states to make a commitment to help people with mental illness to recover,” said NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti. “Work is a critical part of recovery. As a nation, we still have a long way to go in recognizing that linkage.”
“Work is tied to a person’s sense of identity, dignity and worth in our society. Even during the recession, the national unemployment rate paled next to what people in the public mental health system routinely experience. We must do better.”
Unemployed Adults with Mental Illness 20121
1 SAMHSA (2012) Uniform Reporting System 2012 http://www.samhsa.gov/
2 Unemployed = unemployed + not in labor force (NLF)
July 10, 2014 Press Release from the National Alliance on Mental Illness