Individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) have many strengths, talents, and abilities that may be overlooked, including the desire to be competitively employed.

OMHSAS supports the belief that every person with a serious mental illness is capable of working competitively in the community if the right job and work environment are available. The goal is to develop resources that help individuals find and keep jobs that capitalize on individual strengths and skills while accommodating needs with support services as necessary. As individuals with serious mental illness succeed in the workforce, stigma decreases and social awareness improves.  As a result of obtaining competitive integrated employment, individuals can experience increased self-esteem and satisfaction in life (1,2) and the cost of behavioral health services can be reduced (3,4).  When individuals with SMI are employed in competitive integrated jobs, it increases the tax base and saves money in public assistance.

OMHSAS endorses the following employment resources for individuals with SMI:

OMHSAS encourages county mental health administrators to increase the use of evidence-based supported employment services, which focus on community integration.



  1. Arns, P.G. and Linney, J.A. (1993). Work, Self and Life Satisfaction for Persons with Severe and Persistent Mental Disorders.  Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 17 (2), 63-79.
  2. Fabian, E. (1992). Supported Employment and the Quality of Life.  Does a job make a difference?  Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 36 (2), 84-87.
  3. Rogers, E.S., Sciarappal K. MacDonald-Wilson, I., and Danley, K (1995). A Benefit-Cost Analysis of a Supported Employment Model for Persons with Psychiatric Disability. Evaluation and Program Planning, 18 (2), 105-115.
  4. State of California, (1995).  Taxpayer Return Study.  California Department of Rehabilitation Mental Health Cooperative Programs.