Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 7, pp 864–870 | Cite as

Work Accommodations and Natural Supports for Employees with Severe Mental Illness in Social Businesses: An International Comparison

  • Patrizia VillottiEmail author
  • Marc Corbière
  • Ellie Fossey
  • Franco Fraccaroli
  • Tania Lecomte
  • Carol Harvey
Brief Report


Little is known about the types of work accommodations and natural supports that are useful for people experiencing severe mental illness working in social businesses. We conducted an exploratory, descriptive and cross-sectional investigation in Australia, Canada and Italy to study the nature of work accommodations and natural supports available in social businesses. Study findings are drawn from survey responses of a convenience sample of 90 employees with self-reported psychiatric disabilities. Results showed that, regardless of the country, social businesses provide many work accommodations and natural supports, especially those linked to schedule flexibility and support, while work accommodations related to training and schedule flexibility were linked to longer job tenure. Overall, this study advances our knowledge about the spectrum of work accommodations and natural supports that are available in social businesses for people with severe mental illness. Also, it highlights the type of work accommodations that are likely to support this population to sustain employment.


Work participation Work accommodations Natural supports Mental illness Social business 



This work was supported by the Work Disability Prevention Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategic Training Program Grant (FRN: 53909).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (University of Trento, Italy; Universitè de Sherbrooke, Canada; University of Melbourne, Australia) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrizia Villotti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marc Corbière
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ellie Fossey
    • 4
    • 5
  • Franco Fraccaroli
    • 6
  • Tania Lecomte
    • 3
    • 7
  • Carol Harvey
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre de recherche de l’Hôpital Charles LeMoyneUniversité de SherbrookeLongueuilCanada
  2. 2.Department of Education, Career CounsellingUniversité du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)MontrealCanada
  3. 3.Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal (CRIUSMM)MontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Primary Health CareMonash UniversityFrankstonAustralia
  5. 5.Psychosocial Research Centre, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  6. 6.Department of Psychology and Cognitive ScienceUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  7. 7.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada

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