Skip to main content

First Person Account of Returning to Education and Competitive Employment Following Serious Mental Illness


Education and work goals are important for people with serious mental illness. For many these goals remain unmet. Increasingly people with serious mental illness are inspired by the stories of people who have been able to meet the challenges of gaining education and stable employment. Two peer workers describe their personal journeys to stable employment. Both authors note the significance of having someone believe in their potential to work. The benefits of stable employment went beyond finances and included improved self-esteem and an altruistic wish to provide a role model for others recovering from mental illness.Functional recovery from serious mental illness (SMI) especially in terms of completed education and employment goals is suboptimal. The clinical evidence base in enhancing functional recovery is increasingly complemented by the growing evidence base developed by the consumer network and by the rise in prominence of peer workers as a significant adjunctive mental health workforce.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Morgan VA et al,. People living with psychotic illness 2010: report on the second nationalmental health survey. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2012;46:735–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references



Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Frances Dark.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The author declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pommeranz, M., Lawrence, J. & Dark, F. First Person Account of Returning to Education and Competitive Employment Following Serious Mental Illness. J. Psychosoc. Rehabil. Ment. Health (2021).

Download citation


  • Peer worker
  • Education
  • Work
  • Serious mental illness
  • Recovery