Supported employment has emerged in recent years as a viable employment service alternative for individuals with chronic mental illness. Numerous reports demonstrate enhanced vocational outcomes in the areas of employment rate, job retention rate, job tenure, and earnings for individuals with chronic mental illness. Not much is known about the program outcomes and applicability in Hong Kong.
The objective of this study was to ascertain the vocational outcomes of individuals with chronic mental illness participating in a supported employment program.
The setting included supported Employment Services in a hospital in Hong Kong.
The sample was 388 individuals with chronic mental illness.
Referral forms were used to collect demographic data. A job placement and follow up record was used to assess job retention rate, job tenure, nature of job placement and earnings. A job termination form was used to evaluate the reasons for the termination of employment.
The intervention was the Individual Placement and Support model of supported employment.
The comparison condition was traditional vocational rehabilitation services.
Of the 388 patients, 267 (68.8%) obtained competitive employment. The mean job tenure was 133 days. The mean salary was HK$4,737 for full-time jobs and HK$2,329 for part-time jobs. The majority of the patients (59.6%) sustained their job placement for more than 30 days, 69 patients (25.8%) worked for more than 6 months, and 35 (13.1%)maintained the job for more than 1 year.
This study concluded that a supported competitive employment program could be an effective approach to enhancing vocational outcomes for individuals with chronic mental illness. Recommendations for future research for evaluation of the effectiveness of the supported competitive employment program are suggested.