Cover image of Let's Talk Employment guide
Let’s Talk Employment
A Guide for Family Members of Individuals in Mental Health Recovery


Vocational Recovery Stories


What Questions Should I Ask?

  • How do I find people in my community with stories and personal experiences to share?
  • Why is telling vocational recovery stories important?


What You Should Know

Direct contact with people who are sharing their vocational recovery stories is, perhaps, the most powerful way to understand the experience. An Employment Specialist in a psychiatric vocational program, such as Supported Employment or local Department of Mental Health, you (and your family members) may find out about opportunities to hear first-hand experiences. If you are a member of the local NAMI group, you may ask if a NAMI event could be used to invite employed individuals to share their stories. Should you attend mental health or NAMI conferences or training activities, key an eye out for presentations on employment by persons in recovery. If you or your family member wish to access stories quickly, the online resources below may be helpful.



These stories can be used to inspire your family member, other families, and providers. They also can serve as tools with which to educate the public about the truth behind mental health conditions. When people with mental health conditions share their stories of vocational recovery, it helps them and others who are considering working or currently working that successful employment is possible. Sharing recovery stories, especially vocational recovery stories, helps to inspire hope about living a meaningful life. Here are just a few stories available in video or printed form online. Not all the strategies that the people in these examples used will work for potential job seekers. It is a matter of using these examples as inspiration in determining what will help your family member the most in their search for employment and also what strategies work for them as unique individuals.