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Supported Employment

Finding and maintaining paid employment is essential to individuals recovering from serious mental illness.  Work provides a sense of purpose, a source of income and a social outlet, all of which are important to people in recovery. 

The Employment First Policy of the State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services states that “in the development and implementation of
policies and procedures and the delivery of services, the Department and CSBs shall ensure that community-based individual supported employment in integrated work settings is presented as the first and priority service option among available day service options offered…”

The State Board asserts that:
Employment is a fundamental value and aspiration in American culture. People, including those with disabilities, gain many benefits from having a job. They have relationships with co-workers, fewer health issues, and an increased sense of well-being. They report a greater sense of accomplishment, increasing their feelings of competence and self-worth, and contribute to the economy. Many people with disabilities live at or below the poverty level, and earning income from paying jobs helps supplement their resources and improve the quality of their lives.


This Resource Guide to Implementing and Funding Supported Employment Services, published in 2009, is a “how-to” manual created by DBHDS which was made possible by the Center for Mental Health Services’ Mental Health Block Grant and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s Real Choice Systems Change Grant (Grant #11-P-92468/3-01). DBHDS and the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) are currently in the process of updating the manual to reflect changes in some Medicaid services.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Supported Employment Evidence-Based Practice Toolkit

Seeking Supported Employment:  What You Need to Know:  Published  by the University of Illinois at Chicago National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability

Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Supported Employment Resources