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Work Patterns and Support Needs of People with Serious Mental Illness


People with serious mental illness (SMI) are frequently unemployed, despite their willingness to work. Several employment interventions approaches have proven efficacy; however, work integration rates for people with SMI continue to be low. In total, 145 participants with a SMI completed a survey, answering questions regarding their personal information, work history, whether they received supports towards work integration, and their functional level. In addition, clinical records were accessed to verify and complete clinical history. A quantitative descriptive approach was used to analyze the data. No significant differences were found between those who were working and who were not, based on age, gender, educational level, living situation, and suicide risk. Those who were working presented higher levels of functional capacity than those who were not working. Factors associated with employment outcomes continue to remain unclear, adding value to the role that the different supports towards work integration may have.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge all psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, social workers, secretaries and especially participants that shared their time and personal experiences to contribute to this study. This work was supported by Global Affairs Canada through the Emerging Leaders from the Americas Program (ELAP).


The article was funded by Global Affairs Canada, ELAP, María Agostina Ciampa.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by Agostina Ciampa and Rosemary Lysaght. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Agostina Ciampa and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Maria Agostina Ciampa.

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Ciampa, M.A., Roca, M. & Lysaght, R. Work Patterns and Support Needs of People with Serious Mental Illness. Community Ment Health J 58, 1207–1213 (2022).

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  • Work
  • Mental health
  • Supported employment
  • Community services
  • Work integration
  • Employment