Thinking About Work
How can we consider what supports are needed and available?
At this stage the supports are for exploring the idea of working, and possibly exploring some personal interests. Initially it is not so much about specific jobs or careers. Informal supports for thinking about work may be: friends, neighbors, or relatives who can keep the employment idea open and alive. They can do this without judging whether any particular job category is right or wrong for your family member.
In this considering work stage the issue of worker identity is very important. For someone with a poor work record or no work experience, this thinking about work may be more difficult. (Yanos) For those who do not have a strong work identity and have more anxiety about the idea of work, some interim steps might be helpful such as internship or volunteering. If the job seeker is in a program that offers direct job attainment with lots of support, the worker identity issue can often be overcome in this way.
Too often persons with serious mental health conditions view themselves as disabled and stigmatized which is difficult to reconcile with the self-story as a worker and valued member of the community. Support for a family member to create a new story is especially important when considering a new role such as that of worker. (Roe)