Working to recover through supported employment

Do you define yourself by the work you do? Do you feel more positive knowing you make a difference through your volunteer work? Because your earned income allows you choices on what you buy, do you feel like you’re (somewhat) in control?

For those diagnosed with a severe mental illness or suffering from an addiction, working gives purpose and can be an essential piece of recovery. However, these individuals may need some initial support in finding and holding a job. Obtaining employment helps recovering individuals gain economic independence, and it permits them to stay active and engaged throughout life. A job can motivate a person to want to change; perhaps they’ll reassess their challenges and devote more effort to addressing what needs to be addressed.

Supported employment decreases one’s dependence on public systems of care; it decreases hospitalizations; and it decreases symptoms of mental illness. Supported employment increases the amount of income earned in competitive jobs through increased hours worked. Supported employment improves self-esteem, independent living and the sense of control over one’s life.

Employers report that a person with mental illness has higher-than-average attendance, and people in recovery from addiction are good sources of long-term employees. Why? Their sense of loyalty is extremely high, because their employer gave them a chance!

Some of the greatest contributions in politics, science and the arts are attributable to people with documented histories of mental illness, such as Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Newton, Leo Tolstoy, Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway.

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is committed to sharing information and resources for better mental health and the prevention of substance abuse. If you would like more information, please call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties at (419) 448-0640. The board’s office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Nancy Cochran,

executive director