Self-employment is an alternative to wage employment and an opportunity to increase labor force participation by people with psychiatric disabilities. Self-employment refers to individuals who work for themselves, either as an unincorporated sole proprietor or through ownership of a business. Advantages of self-employment for people with psychiatric disabilities, who may have disrupted educational and employment histories, include opportunities for self-care, additional earning, and career choice. Self-employment fits within a recovery paradigm because of the value placed on individual preferences, and the role of resilience and perseverance in business ownership. Self-employment creates many new US jobs, but remains only a small percentage of employment closures for people with psychiatric disabilities, despite vocational rehabilitation and Social Security disability policies that encourage it. This commentary elucidates the positive aspects of self-employment in the context of employment challenges experienced by individuals with psychiatric disabilities and provides recommendations based on larger trends in entrepreneurship.
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Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The work for this publication was completed at Live & Learn, Inc., 785 Quintana Road, Suite 219, Morro Bay CA 93442, under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
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Ostrow, L., Nemec, P.B. & Smith, C. Self-Employment for People with Psychiatric Disabilities: Advantages and Strategies. J Behav Health Serv Res 46, 686–696 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11414-018-9625-8