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Veterans Mental Health...



Mental Illness and Work Brochure Series

Three important upfront facts:
- The contact information on these brochures is long since out of date. That information is left here for attribution purposes.
- The brochures on SSI and SSDI are way out of date. Still some of the considerations and thought processes contained in them, as well as most of the Work Incentives appear to be still relevant. If anyone chooses to use these brochures, they will want to be selective about how they do so. Do not just hand them out... that would easily mislead someone.
- While I am a VA Accredited Service Organization Rep. I'm not offering any personal advice. I don't represent you. The information I provide here is for educational and explanatory purposes only. It may or may not apply to your particular circumstances. It should not be interpreted as a substitute for qualified professional personal guidance. When it comes to your own situation, you should always consultant your own representative(s) (Attorney, CPA, OD, MD, VSO, etc.) before you make a decision.


Service Professionals have said that most people with psychiatric disabilities are unemployed and/or underemployed even though many say that they want to work. It was the purpose of the authors of this Brochure Series to provide information and encouragement, to de-mystify the process of going to work, and to help people know what questions to ask and what issues to consider so they can make good work-related decisions for themselves.

This Brochure Series was designed by the authors primarily to be a self-help tool. By this, they meant that a person (or group of people) -- Veterans or not -- with a psychiatric disability would not necessarily need the assistance or involvement of service professionals in order to read and use the brochures. However, that doesn't mean that people have to read or use the brochures alone. As with any other major undertaking, it can be helpful to have company along the way. It can be easier to take in new information or consider hard questions if there is someone to talk it over with, or who is on the same journey.

The authors offered the Facilitator's Guide to help people who want to find structured and semi-structured ways to use the brochures with groups of people with psychiatric disabilities considering work. The authors suggested some may choose to use the Brochure Series as an educational tool about the process of going to work. Others may use the brochures as supportive materials as they are actually taking actions to pursue employment. Whether used for education or rehabilitation, the authors ask you please note that the Brochures Series was intended to be an introduction and supporting resource, and is not a substitute for quality individualized Vocational Rehabilitation services and counseling.

That said, exactly how you use the brochures and this guide will depend on your particular group and setting. In this guide the authors offer some suggestions, discussion questions and additional sources of information which they hope will be helpful.


The suggestions offered are ideas, not formulas. You will have to pick and choose, and make some decisions about what will best serve your group. In most sections there are many suggestions for discussion topics and activities, and you probably won't need to use all of them. The authors suggest you test out these ideas and strategies and also use your own experience and judgment. They also suggest as you gain experience facilitating / leading groups, you will get better at knowing what will work, and you will get better at working without this guide.

Please read the Author's Letter.



Mental Illness & Work ("M-I-W")

M-I-W Facilitators Guide - Front Cover

M-I-W Facilitators Guide - Preface

M-I-W Facilitators Guide - Contents

M-I-W Facilitators Guide - Page 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

M-I-W Facilitators Guide - Back Cover


Brochure One: Work is an important part of most people's lives. Yet, most people with a serious mental illness do not work, even though the great majority reports that work is a very important goal. The truth is that many people with psychiatric disabilities are able to work successfully, despite their symptoms, if they receive the supports they need. The authors of this Brochure Series believe that people with psychiatric disabilities should have the opportunity to live their lives as independently as possible in their communities. For many people work can be an important part of recovery from serious mental illness, of achieving self-sufficiency, and of maximizing their potential. If you are a person with a serious mental illness without a job, you may be wondering whether working is a good idea for you. You might want to know whether you can find the help you need to prepare for work. You might be uncertain about how to get started or worried that you won't succeed. You might be wondering how to find job you enjoy and begin to build a long-term career for yourself. This Brochure Series is designed to provide information you may need to figure out whether working is right for you, and to help you be successful if you do decide to work. You may want to read the Brochure Series from start to finish, or you may want to pick and choose which brochures you think will be most helpful to you. A list of the brochure topics, with descriptions, can be found on pages 3-5 of this brochure.


Brochure Two: If you are a person with a psychiatric disability without a job, you may be wondering whether working is a good idea for you. This brochure will review some of the advantages of working. It will also address the question of whether it is possible for people with psychiatric disabilities to work, and will give you some pointers about how to make your own decision about work.


Brochure Three: A person with a psychiatric disability and who wants to enter or re-enter the workforce, will need to be both realistic and resourceful. Being realistic involves acknowledging that you may face very real barriers to employment. Being resourceful involves learning what you need to overcome those barriers as you move toward your goal. In this brochure, we will review some of the most common problems faced by people with psychiatric disabilities who want to find (or keep) a job. We will also review some of the strategies that can help solve these problems. Some of these strategies are things you can do yourself. Others may require the help of a counselor, therapist, job coach or peer support person. Some people may find this list of barriers overwhelming. As you read about these common problems, keep in mind that not every person with a psychiatric disability has all of these problems. This list is intended to encourage people to evaluate their own situation and to consider what strategies might be helpful to them. Remember-there are strategies and supports available for whatever problems you may encounter as you enter the workforce. It is also important to know that supports are available from several different types of vocational programs that have been designed to help people with psychiatric disabilities to find and keep jobs. In the second half of this brochure, you can read about these programs, and get some ideas about which ones might be helpful to you.


The rest of the Brochures are still being scanned -- 080126 -- check back on 080202.






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