Chrysalis chosen to Participate in National Study Looking at the Effects of Employment on Disability and Wellness

by Jenny King

Chrysalis is among 30 agencies across the country selected to be part of the federal Supported Employment Demonstration.  The Supported Employment Demonstration is a 6-year study funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration. The study, conducted by Westat, looks at how employment services, provided along with integrated behavioral health and social services, can help people experiencing mental illness get a good job.  The Supported Employment Demonstration will test whether offering evidence-based package of integrated employment and mental health services to individuals experiencing disability earlier in the illness process will lead to employment, improved mental health and quality of life, and less need for disability benefits.

The Mental Health Treatment Study and many other studies show that IPS Supported Employment for individuals experiencing mental illness results in the following benefits:

  • Increased income
  • Improved self esteem
  • Improved social networks
  • Increased quality of life
  • Better control of symptoms
  • Reduced substance use
  • Reduced use of mental health services

In contrast, unemployment among persons with mental illness is associated with increased physical and mental health problems, reduced self-esteem, alienation and apathy, loss of social contacts and increased substance abuse.  Given the interest in supporting employment efforts of persons with disabilities, studies such as the Supported Employment Demonstration, are needed. It is helpful for policymakers to have an evidentiary base from which to consider potential program improvements and innovations that can strengthen the ability of individuals with disabilities to work. 

Kaylee, a client with the SED study, states “ working with the study gave me the confidence to go out and apply for jobs. I felt comfortable going to work because I know I would have support on the job.”