Thinking About Work
How would our family member begin the process of identifying resources for making a vocational choice?
The family member can contact the local state or county Department of Mental Health or the local office of Vocational Rehabilitation. If the family member has recently been in high school, vocational training or college, guidance personnel can be helpful. The school should be able to provide the names and phone numbers of those who offer these services. If the family member is part of a treatment team such as ACT or a psychosocial program such as a Clubhouse, these are programs where help is available to think about and ultimately participate in work. Your family member would express their interest to staff about needing helping in choosing employment.
Some regions have Supported Employment Programs which are a great resource – a person just needs to find out if they qualify for the program. It is most likely that the Dept. of Mental Health would be able to identify those services which might be available. There are also America’s Job Centers (also called “one stops” or “career centers”) that can be helpful with training and/or job placement ideas or may provide testing and counseling to explore ideas.
One practice that can help in exploration is to identify, if possible, individuals who work in a job that the family member considers their “dream job”. After identifying the “dream job” people, set up an interview or a chance to visit their worksite to see them “in action”. The internet is another excellent tool for exploration. Most employment or employment-related programs could help the individual to explore different types of work. If s/he is not yet connected to a program, the local librarian might be of assistance. Exploration materials are being developed by the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation particularly for considering careers.