Unemployment Rises Among Those with Serious Mental Health Problems
July 22, 2014

According to a new report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), adults with serious mental health problems face an 80 percent unemployment rate, a rate that continues to become more dire over time.


In 2003, 23 percent of those receiving public mental health services had jobs; by 2012, only 17.8 percent did.


The survey reports that most adults with mental illness want to work, and 60 percent can be successful if they have the right support. However, only 1.7 percent of those surveyed received supportive employment services. Study author Sita Diehl says the employment problem has less to do with the workers themselves and more to do with the lack of organizations providing supportive services for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Due to decreases in funding, services have not been as available.


On a related note, people with mental illnesses are now the largest and fastest-growing group to receive Supplemental Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Income.


Unemployment rates varied greatly by state, with 92.6 percent of those receiving public mental health services in Maine being without jobs to 56 percent of those in Wyoming reporting they are without employment.