Some 90 percent of mentally disabled individuals do not work, yet research suggests more than 75 percent of these potential employees have both the desire and ability to work.(1)
Employment opportunities and training for persons with disabilities or disadvantages in the past were limited to traditional vocational services such as developing job placement skills and job coaching. Although these services are beneficial, they are most effective when embedded into a more comprehensive program - one that develops and supports consumers after employment is obtained.
Research shows that both the need for and use of mental health services decrease after successful completion of job training and job placement programs. A recent study conducted locally, revealed a significant reduction in inpatient services after career development participation, resulting in an average monthly decrease in days hospitalized by 0.76 days, translating to an average cost savings of $632.32 per consumer, per month, or an annual per-consumer savings of $7,587.84.
For most people, obtaining employment has a direct relation to mental health. In addition, disabled individuals excel in environments that foster development and personal accountability.
An integrated approach to behavioral health needs to assist disadvantaged, disabled and non-disabled people, by creating meaningful career opportunities for those who may lack such opportunities in the existing job market.
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1. Widening the Definition of Work, Behavioral Healthcare