The aim of the study was to identify the employment rates of people using local mental health services and examine any evidence in care plans for vocational or occupational interventions. We investigated case notes retrospectively.
A total of 297 case notes were examined: 88% of the patients were unemployed, but there was evidence of documentation relating to vocational needs in only 18% of out-patients; 8% in patients of community mental health teams; and 39% in acute wards; 8% of patients were engaged in work schemes; 10% of patients were in education; and 9% were engaged in vocational interventions with their care coordinator; the latter was less likely if the patient was from a Black or minority ethnic group (OR=2.44, 95% CI 0.18–1.05).
Despite high rates of unemployment, patients with psychiatric disorders are not referred for vocational interventions. Growing professional awareness of vocational possibilities for patients with severe mental illness should mean that many patients could return to competitive employment and return to mainstream society.
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