July 14, 2014
Eighty percent of people with mental illness are unemployed, a statistic that says more about the lack of support for this group of people than it does about the economy, according to a new study.
As in so many other areas of mental health, solutions to this problem exist, but simply aren’t utilized, says Mary Giliberti, executive director of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“We have state-enforced poverty,” says Judge Milton Mack, a member of the Michigan Mental Health Commission in 2004 who has presided over guardianship hearings for people with mental illness for many years. “If they get a job, they lose their benefits.”
A year of supported employment – in which job coaches help people cope with the demands of their new jobs – costs about $4,000, Drake says. But it can save the mental health system tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a person’s lifetime, because participants use fewer services.
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