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Report finds 80 percent of Oklahomans served by public mental health system are unemployed

The National Alliance on Mental Illness released the report Thursday, pointing out there are models for job programs for people with mental illness but they are often underfunded.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: July 11, 2014 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 11, 2014
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Sentence to poverty

“Mental illness should no longer sentence people to poverty,” the report reads. “People living with mental illness want to work, frequently can work, and models have been developed to help them succeed.

“However, these effective interventions are few and far between. Multiple implementation barriers exist, including lack of political will, inadequate funding, misaligned policies, stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness.”

The report also recommends changes that states can implement to better ensure people with mental illness have more job opportunities:

Enact state legislation to increase access to effective supported employment, which includes integrating employment with other mental health services and individualized long-term supports in the workplace.

Develop adequate, long-term financing mechanisms to implement evidence-based supported employment programs.

Allocate money to support transition services when Medicaid enrollees gain employment and enroll in private health coverage, enabling people to retain income and medical supports while they transition into employment.

Make it easier for employers to hire and support workers who live with mental illness, such as helping businesses leverage federal financial incentives like payroll tax credits to encourage businesses to hire people with disabilities.

NAMI report by NewsOK

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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Mental illness should no longer sentence people to poverty. People living with mental illness want to work, frequently can work and models have been developed to help them succeed. However, these effective interventions are few and far between. Multiple implementation barriers exist, including lack of political will, inadequate funding, misaligned policies, stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness.”

Employment report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness,

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