Thinking About Work
Who can help us find the right services to provide the employment related supports?
Professionals who interact with the family member such as case managers, therapists, residential counselors, psychiatrists and others may be very helpful in encouraging the idea of work. They may identify others such as Employment Specialists or Rehabilitation Counselors that can open the door further. More likely they can open the doors to employment programs or employment services that can help your family member learn what is available. The Employment Specialists or Rehabilitation Counselors might locate or provide services that would support the exploration. If a referral is made to a program, it is likely that your family member will be invited to an orientation session or a tour of the program to help determine if it is a good match. Volunteer work for the ambivalent person can also be a type of support, that increases confidence and gives the volunteer useful feedback.
If your family member is already involved with an Assertive Community Treatment Program, a Clubhouse Program or other Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program providing training in community living and working, (PRA), you can suggest that your family member talk to the program about getting involved with employment services. If you have permission from your family member to talk with staff, (HHS) you could discuss whether it is feasible to get started on employment. These programs typically have employment as part of the overall program but members might need encouragement to use them.
It is best to avoid spending too much time and effort in the thinking about work and, whenever possible, find a path that leads quickly to employment. The IPS model (Individual Placement and Support) repeatedly shows that rapid job search is important. Sometimes, due to mental health conditions, and/or struggles with substance use, the window of time for action is not very large, so time is of the essence. Mueser found that persons with both mental health and substance use conditions have a 36% better job acquisition rates using IPS and rapid placement.