Regional Variation in Competitive Employment for Persons with Severe Mental Illness

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The supported employment approach offers the potential to increase rates of competitive employment for persons with severe mental illness, but implementation and outcomes vary considerably. The authors examined regional variation in rates of employment across one state to ascertain the factors that affect outcomes. Mental health centers that emphasized supported employment programs achieved higher rates of competitive employment than centers that continued to offer pre-employment programs, such as day treatment and sheltered workshops. Mental health centers that attained high rates of competitive employment spent a larger proportion of their total budget on vocational services than other centers. Rural centers were also more likely to attain high employment rates than urban centers.