For applicants or employees who are in mental health recovery and struggling vocationally (including family members, friends or professionals who are assisting them), it may be helpful to consider looking into the availability of psychiatric rehabilitation programs in their area. According to Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, the mission of this approach is to assist individuals in mental health recovery to choose, obtain, and maintain their preferred living, learning, socializing, and working roles. Practitioners can assist individuals to set and achieve vocational goals on a continuum from an initial engagement around a person’s general interest in working, to a goal aimed at increasing skills and supports in order to become more successful and satisfied in their chosen job role. This is achieved in the most consumer-driven way possible, beginning from where the person is “at” vocationally.

An example of an experience that can be facilitated by this approach is known as the process of “choosing a valued role.” Historically, people with psychiatric disabilities have been “placed” into their various life roles (e.g., residential, vocational, etc.) often with little or no direct involvement. The opportunity, perhaps for the first time in that person’s life, to engage in a systematic process of actively choosing from among several well-researched alternative job roles – with the assistance of a skilled counselor — can in itself be a “recovery-launching” experience.

JAN’s services can complement this type of individualized and choice-driven employment process. Our consultants can respond to questions from individuals, vocational counselors, or employers regarding workplace accommodations, the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or entrepreneurship options. All services are free and confidential. JAN’s Website can be very helpful to job seekers with mental health conditions providing information and resources that address issues such as disclosure of a disability; finding the right job; examples of potential accommodations; ADA guidance; and a wide variety of other employment issues. The portal designated for “Job Seekers” under “For Individuals” on the JAN Home Page is a good starting point.

Regarding psychiatric rehabilitation programs, a variety of mental health provider organizations offer services based on this holistic approach. They are available in a variety of implementation types including individual practitioners, group programs, mobile programs, inpatient programs, clubhouse programs, and peer support services. Your local community mental health organization or case management/service coordination agency may be a good place to begin an inquiry into programs available in your local community.

Vocational psychiatric rehabilitation can be an essential complement to the array of treatment, enrichment, and other types of services available to assist people in their mental health recovery journeys. Success and satisfaction in a valued vocational role is often a major contributing factor to a person’s growth toward a full recovery. JAN can contribute to an individual’s success in the workplace by providing individualized accommodation suggestions and responding to questions about the ADA. Below are select resources available on JAN’s Website that may be especially helpful.