National Alliance on Mental Illness
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The Rewards of Employment

Reader's Digest (January 2005) has reprinted an article from the St. Petersburg Times in Florida (August 2004) that highlights a model program to support recovery through employment, based on the story of Ed Wohlford.

Vincent House, also the focus of the story, is run by a former NAMI Florida president, and reflects NAMI's commitment to recovery, as well as erasing stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Many consumers when asked what has been an aspect of their recovery will typically name off several things which include housing, employment, and relationships with others.  These things are in addition to the medications and treatment that they receive to alleviate their symptoms of mental illness.  Ed Wohlford of Florida is no different.  As part of a program through his local drop in center consumers who have proven their work skills at the center are given the opportunity to participate in a supported employment program.  This program allows a job coach to work along side the consumer and help train them without the usual stresses of quick or inadequate training. 

Ed, like so many consumers, wants to feel accepted and to feel proud of his work.  At the sub shop where he works his job coach is always saying an encouraging word and giving him high fives.  The store manager is also equally supportive of Ed and has made him feel a part of the team.  After receiving his first paycheck from work his picture is taken at the drop in center and posted on a bulletin board as another success in supported employment programs.

Related Resources:

Learn more about StigmaBusters, who help fight stigma in the media--and praise publications like Reader's Digest who focus on stories  of truth and dignity.

Read more about Supported Employment and why it is an Evidenced Based Practice