Objective: Inclusion in work and education remains problematic for many people with a mental illness. We describe a structured programme - the Health Optimisation Program for Employment - that supported people with a mental illness to gain employment or commence studies.
Method: Twenty hours of the Health Optimisation Program for Employment were delivered to 600 individuals. Participants were asked to complete an evaluation survey encompassing vocational status and ratings of self-efficacy.
Results: Of the 364 participants who completed the baseline assessment, 168 responded to the evaluation survey 6 months after the delivery of the Health Optimisation Program for Employment. Of these, 21.5% had started a new job, while a further 42.8% were either volunteering or studying. Satisfaction with the programme was high and self-efficacy ratings improved significantly over the short term only.
Conclusions: The Health Optimisation Program for Employment requires further evaluation using rigorous scientific methodology but these initial results are encouraging in terms of vocational attainment for people with a mental illness, in the Australian context.
Keywords: employment; mental illness; peer educator; psychoeducation; self-efficacy; self-management; vocational rehabilitation.
© The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2016.