Policy Opportunities for Promoting Employment for People with Psychiatric Disabilities

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Cover of policy opportunities white paper
Alexis Henry, ScD, OTR/L
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Jennie Fishman , MPA
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Alison Barkoff, JD
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Jennifer Mathis, JD, MA
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Bethany J. Lilly, JD
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Outlines policy opportunities that can be leveraged to expand opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities to successfully obtain and maintain employment, including increased access to career development, supported employment, and critical health services.

The authors’ recommendations include:

  • Develop guidance and incentives for Medicaid coverage of supported employment.
  • Maximize opportunities for access to healthcare made possible by the Affordable Care Act.
  • Continue service innovations focused on educational and career development.
  • Include people with psychiatric disabilities in federal and state employment initiatives.

The authors say there is compelling evidence that people with psychiatric disabilities want to work, but statistics show their employment rate is low. When people are provided with appropriate supports and services, employment is attainable and leads to social inclusion, better health, reductions in public spending, and economic advancement.