The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2014 for the Mental Health Transformation Grant Program: Transforming Lives through Supported Employment (Short Title: Supported Employment Program). The purpose of this program is to enhance state and community capacity to provide and expand evidence-based supported employment programs (such as the Individual Placement and Support model) to adults with serious mental illnesses including persons with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. The expected outcome of the program is for states to have the necessary infrastructure in place to maintain and expand supported employment services throughout the state and increase the number of individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring mental and substance use disorders who obtain and retain competitive employment.
Grantees will establish a robust SE program in two communities within the state, secure sustainable funding for on-going community SE services, establish a permanent training program using in-person and virtual platforms, and collect and analyze program data.
Research has shown that supported employment helps individuals achieve and sustain recovery. Supported employment occurs within the most integrated and competitive setting that enables individuals with disabilities to interact with non-disabled persons to the fullest extent possible. Integrated settings are those that provide individuals with disabilities opportunities to live, work, and receive services in the community, like individuals without disabilities. The SE Program seeks to address behavioral health disparities among racial, ethnic, and sexual/gender minorities by encouraging the implementation of strategies to decrease the differences in access, service use, and outcomes among the racial, ethnic, and sexual/gender minority populations served (see Appendix G in the RFA: Addressing Behavioral Health Disparities).
The Supported Employment Program will focus on enhancing state and community capacity to provide evidence-based SE programs to adults with serious mental illnesses. Expanding opportunities for employment of persons with serious mental illness supports SAMHSA's four pillars of recovery: Health, Home, Purpose, and Community. With gainful employment as the target outcome, mental health consumers, their treatment providers, and their employers will develop mutual understanding and successful relationships. The Supported Employment Program will help people with mental illnesses discover paths of self-sufficiency and recovery rather than disability and dependence.
Employment is both an outcome and a core component of recovery. SAMHSA’s Recovery Support Strategic Initiative (RSSI) emphasizes meaningful work and the ability to enhance skills through education in recovery from mental and substance use disorders and sets as its goal increasing gainful employment and educational opportunities, while decreasing legal and policy barriers, for individuals in recovery. Most people with serious mental illnesses want to work and yet too often find little support in traditional community mental health programs. With support, consumers can work in competitive jobs or start their own businesses and increase their work activity and earnings over time.
Public and private-sector employers have become more engaged in disability employment. In 2010, on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), President Obama called on the federal government to hire an additional 100,000 workers with disabilities by 2015 (Executive Order 13548). Last year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on the private sector to increase the disability labor force by over 1 million workers by 2015. In 2013, the Chair of the National Governors Association, Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, launched his initiative A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities to provide governors and other state policymakers with better policy options to assess the environment in their state and strategies designed to support employment of persons with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a final rule effective March 14, 2014 for implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, prohibiting federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities (IWDs), and requiring these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals toward the goal that at least seven percent of their workforce, at all levels, are people with disabilities (http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm). Large corporations are setting ambitious goals for disability employment, and extolling the business benefits that have come from recruiting, retaining and promoting these talent pools. These benefits include improved productivity, fewer missed days of work, reduced turnover of personnel and innovative thinking (Senator Tom Harkin, 07/16/2012, Disability Employment: Are We at the Tipping Point? Huffington Post).
In 2010, SAMHSA released its Supported Employment Evidence-Based Practices KIT http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA08-4365 which provides information to policy makers, providers, consumers, and others on how to implement SE initiatives. The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model is an enhanced version of SAMHSA’s Supported Employment Evidence-Based Practices KIT. Since that time, SE efforts have continued to be refined, for example, the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model is an evidence-based practice specifically for individuals with serious mental illness. A key feature of SE is integrating employment services with mental health services. There are a number of reasons for adopting the IPS model described in the Federal Financing of Supported Employment and Customized Employment For People With Mental Illnesses (2011) that include its effectiveness, durability of results, reasonable costs, ease of implementation and sustainability, and adaptability to diverse client groups (http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/2011/supempFR.pdf).
The IPS model is based on core principles that include:
- Every consumer/client who wants to work is eligible;
- Competitive jobs are the primary goal of supported employment;
- Supported employment services are integrated with comprehensive mental health treatment;
- Personalized benefits counseling is provided to every consumer/client;
- Job placements happens when the individual believes they are ready;
- Employment specialists (job coaches) receive extensive training in SE and developing relationships with businesses and other employment opportunities; and
- Consumer/clients receive job supports for as long as required
The Supported Employment Program is authorized under Section 520A of the Public Health Service Act, amended. This announcement addresses Healthy People 2020 Mental Health and Mental Disorders Topic Area HP 2020-MHMD and/or Substance Abuse Topic Area HP 2020-SA.