A hybrid supported employment program for persons with schizophrenia in Japan

Psychiatr Serv. 2000 Jul;51(7):864-6. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.51.7.864.


INTRODUCTION BY THE COLUMN EDITORS: Because the mental health system in Japan has emphasized hospital-based treatment (1), patients with schizophrenia often remain institutionalized for long periods, even after their symptoms have stabilized. In addition, the introduction of modern community-based methods of treatment and rehabilitation was delayed by an antipsychiatry movement in the 1970s and the ascendance of a reductionistic biological approach to services (2). Lack of adequate outpatient services and community residential care in Japan has been a serious obstacle to destigmatization of mental disorders and has contributed to the heavy burden and stress experienced by families of mentally ill persons (3). More than 80 percent of patients discharged from mental hospitals return to live with their families, who are ill prepared to provide the supportive services required for community tenure. Involvement in work activities can facilitate community reentry for people with serious and persistent mental illness because employment displaces symptoms, provides structure and meaning in daily life, offers socialization with peers, and permits workers to earn income for shelter and food. In this issue's Rehab Rounds column, the authors describe an innovative vocational rehabilitation program for patients with schizophrenia that was designed to overcome obstacles to discharge and community adjustment. The program at Yabuki Prefecture Psychiatric Hospital, in the northern prefecture of Fukushima, Japan, has been successful in training patients for competitive work while capitalizing on the importance of work in Japanese culture and its traditionally supportive employer-employee relationships. The program is termed "hybrid" because it combines elements of transitional employment with supported employment (4).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Employment, Supported / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Patient Readmission
  • Program Evaluation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schizophrenia / rehabilitation*
  • Social Adjustment