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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Department of Health and Human Services

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services

Last Updated: 6/22/2012

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SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)

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The workforce includes many individuals with psychiatric disabilities whose disabilities may be stigmatized and misunderstood. Despite the contributions of numerous people who have had or who currently have mental illnesses, employers and the public may discourage people who have mental illnesses from fulfilling their career goals.

In fact, due in part to the negative attitudes associated with mental illnesses and discrimination, the unemployment rate among people with serious and persistent mental illnesses is 90% -- far higher than the 50% unemployment rate among individuals with physical or sensorial disabilities. In other words, only 10% of individuals with persistent mental illnesses who want to work, and are able, are working.

The employment of people with mental illnesses helps employers fill job openings and contributes to society through the return of paid taxes and Social Security and reduced use of government health and disability benefits.

Employers who have hired individuals with mental illnesses report that their attendance and punctuality exceed the norm, and that their motivation, work quality, and job tenure is as good as or better than that of other employees.1

Information on the employment of people with mental illnesses can be found in the materials in this section. It includes practical employment tips for hiring and supervising people with mental illnesses, the importance of promoting mental health in the workplace, and information on successful employment programs and legal issues.

This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.