Transforming Lives Through Supported Employment (SE) Program

The SE program seeks to increase evidence-based, supported employment programs for individuals with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.

In 2014, SAMHSA awarded seven Transforming Lives Through Supported Employment (SE) Program grants to enhance state and community capacity to provide and expand evidence-based, supported employment programs to adults with serious mental illness (SMI), including people with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.

Supported employment can help people with SMI participate in the competitive labor market. It helps them find meaningful jobs and provides ongoing support from a team of professionals. Supported employment occurs within the most integrated and competitive settings that provide individuals with SMI opportunities to live, work, and receive services in the community.

The SE program helps people with mental illnesses discover paths of self-sufficiency and recovery, rather than disability and dependence. Most people with SMI want to work, yet they face significant barriers in finding and keeping jobs, such as:

  • A limited number of jobs in communities
  • Discrimination against people with mental illnesses
  • Limited or compromised executive functioning skills among some consumers that hinder one's ability to perform and attend work
  • Lack of supported employment programs
  • Inadequate transportation

With support, they can work in competitive jobs or start their own businesses, enabling them to increase their work activity and earnings over time.

The SE program also seeks to address behavioral health disparities among racial, ethnic, and sexual and gender minorities. It encourages the implementation of strategies to decrease the differences in access, service use, and outcomes among these populations.

Grantee Profiles

Individual Placement Support and Supported Employment Program (AL-IPSSEP) – Alabama

Implementation Sites: AltaPointe Health Care Systems (urban Mobile County), Chilton Shelby Mental Health Center (rural Shelby and Chilton Counties)

Special Population Focus (if applicable): Veterans

Description of Peer Involvement: Four Individual Placement and Support employment specialists

Service Goals: 50 individuals in year 1; 100 individuals each in years 2 to 5 (450 total)

Project Description

Alabama’s Individual Placement Support and Supported Employment Program (AL-IPSSEP) is designed to enable adults receiving services from community mental health center sites to access and succeed in competitive employment. The goal of the program is to prioritize and offer full access to employment through individual placement support services for people with serious mental illness, including co-occurring substance use disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These individuals have often been considered inappropriate candidates for employment services.

AL-IPSSEP is tightly integrated within the community mental health treatment team to improve patient-centered treatment plans, patients’ treatment adherence, sobriety, and overall psychological recovery.

 

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Supported Employment (SE) Program – Connecticut

Implementation Sites: Capitol Regional Mental Health Center and Hispanic Health Council (Hartford) and Connecticut Mental Health Center and Career Resources (New Haven)

Special Population Focus (if applicable): Latinos and individuals who have justice involvement

Description of Peer Involvement: People in recovery are part of the statewide Supported Employment Coordinating Committee. One of the grantee’s goals is to increase the number of peers in the supported employment workforce over the course of this grant.

Service Goals: 50 individuals in year 1; 100 individuals each in years 2 to 5 (450 total)

Project Description

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) will use the Transforming Lives Through Supported Employment (SE) program grant to enhance state and community capacity to provide evidence-based SE programs. These programs will better serve Latinos and individuals who have criminal justice involvement and serious mental illness (SMI). In addition, the Connecticut SE program focuses on reducing health disparities for DMHAS-connected individuals who have SMI, with or without co-occurring substance use disorders.

 

Department of Health Services, Division of Mental Health (DMH) – Illinois

Implementation Sites: Trilogy Incorporated Behavioral Healthcare (North Chicago), Thresholds Psychiatric Rehab Centers (South Chicago)

Description of Peer Involvement: One Individual Placement and Support-certified recovery support specialist at each site

Service Goals: 350 individuals total

Project Description

The Illinois Department of Health Services, Division of Mental Health (DMH) is enhancing state and community capacity to provide and expand evidence-based, Supported Employment (SE) programs and individual placement services. DMH works with consumer organizations, state agencies, employers, family members, and other stakeholders to develop a state infrastructure to maintain and expand evidence-based employment program services throughout Illinois. These programs serve individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders.

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Department for Aging and Disability Services - Enhancing Supported Employment in Kansas (ESEK)

Implementation Sites: COMCARE (urban Sedgwick County, Wichita); Compass Behavioral Health (13 counties, rural and frontier southwest region)

Special Population Focus (if applicable): Hispanics or Latinos and refugees included in Compass’ service area

Description of Peer Involvement: Sedgwick: Two part-time peer mentors; Southwest Kansas: two full-time peer mentors

Service Goals: 25 individuals in year 1; 50 individuals each in years 2 to 5 (225 total)

Project Description

The purpose of the Enhancing Supported Employment in Kansas (ESEK) project is to enhance state and local capacity to provide and expand the evidence-based, supported employment Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model through:

  • Increased state and local coordination
  • Identification and development of policies and sustainable funding approaches
  • Enhanced implementation of the IPS model at two local sites

ESEK will build upon the existing supported employment efforts in Kansas.

 

Mental Health and Addiction Services (Ohio MHAS) Supported Employment Project

Implementation Sites: Daybreak Inc. (Montgomery County, southwest region); Firelands Counseling Center (Erie and Ottawa County, north region)

Special Population Focus (if applicable): Transitional age youth (Daybreak)

Description of Peer Involvement: Two peer specialists at each site

Service Goals: 50 individuals per year (450 total)

Project Description

Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) and its partners are implementing the Supported Employment Project. This project reduces the high unemployment rates for young adults and adults with a severe and persistent mental illness who may have co-occurring substance use disorders.

Two local sites are implementing new programs, and a committee will oversee statewide training, policy changes, and evaluation. The evidence-based practice of Individual Placement and Support employment is being shared statewide through training and technical assistance.

 

Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Supported Employment Transformation Project (SETP) – Utah

Implementation Sites: Southwest Behavioral Health Center (rural southwest region, five counties); Weber Human Services (Weber and Morgan Counties, near Salt Lake City)

Description of Peer Involvement: One certified peer specialist at each site

Service Goals: 50 individuals in year 1; 100 individuals each in years 2 to 5 (450 total)

Project Description

The Supported Employment Transformation Project (SETP) uses the Individual Placement and Support evidence-based, supported employment model. A primary component of this project includes forming a multi-agency coordinating committee that will develop and implement a collaborative, sustainable funding initiative to expand and maintain robust, supported employment services in Utah. The project provides supported employment services to adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders. Two local mental health authorities across urban and rural communities coordinate these services.

 

Becoming Employed Starts Today (BEST), Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) – Washington

Implementation Sites: Southwest Washington Behavioral Health Regional Support Network and Spokane Regional Support Network contract with Grant Mental Healthcare (Central Washington) and Columbia River Mental Health Services (Clark County, near Portland, Oregon), respectively

Description of Peer Involvement: Peer counselor at each implementation site

Service Goals: 50 individuals in year 1; 100 individuals each in years 2 to 5 (450 total)

Project Description

The Becoming Employed Starts Today (BEST) project is designed to transform service delivery by promoting sustainable access to evidence-based, supported employment. BEST provides consumers with meaningful choice and control of employment and support services. It uses peer counselors, reduces unemployment, and supports the recovery and resiliency of individuals with serious mental illness, including co-occurring substance use disorders.

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Last Updated: 08/19/2015