Supported Education and Supported Employment for College Students with Mental Health Challenges Abraham Rudnick1*, Marnie Wedlake1,2, Wendy Lau3, Bob McEwan4, - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Supported Education and Supported Employment for College Students with Mental Health Challenges Abraham Rudnick1*, Marnie Wedlake1,2, Wendy Lau3, Bob McEwan4,

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1. University of Western Ontario, 2. Canadian Mental Health Association, 3. Leads Employment Services, 4. Fanshawe College. * Email: arudnic2_at_uwo.ca – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Supported Education and Supported Employment for College Students with Mental Health Challenges Abraham Rudnick1*, Marnie Wedlake1,2, Wendy Lau3, Bob McEwan4,


1
Supported Education and Supported Employment for
College Students with Mental Health Challenges
Abraham Rudnick1, Marnie Wedlake1,2, Wendy
Lau3, Bob McEwan4, Erica Lundberg1,4
  • 1. University of Western Ontario, 2. Canadian
    Mental Health Association, 3. Leads Employment
    Services, 4. Fanshawe College. Email
    arudnic2_at_uwo.ca

2
Background
  • Many people with a serious mental illness (SMI)
    are commonly unemployed or underemployed (Mueser,
    Salyers Mueser, 2001).
  • People with SMI experience barriers to
    employment, such as stigma and cognitive deficits
    (Mueser et al, 2001)

3
Background
  • Approximately 5-12 of the college student
    population report psychiatric symptoms (Megivern
    et al, 2003).
  • Persons with mental health challenges have lower
    educational levels experience more disruptions
    in education (eg. Kessler, Foster, Saunders
    Stang,1995).
  • Hence people with SMI have a low chance of
    gainful (trained/skilled) employment without
    special support.

4
Background
  • Supported employment is successful in securing
    gainful employment for people with mental
    illnesses (e.g. Cook, Leff, Blyer et al., 2005
    Best, Still Cameron, 2008 Gutman, 2008).
  • However, Supported Employment does not usually
    target skilled work.
  • There is a lack of connection between supported
    education and supported employment, although this
    combination may enhance gainful/skilled
    employment for people with SMI.

5
Background
  • Emerging evidence (e.g. Rudnick Gover, 2009)
    indicates that combined supported education and
    supported employment services are beneficial to
    persons with SMI, by enhancing education and
    gainful/skilled employment success and personal
    wellbeing.

6
Fostering Recovery Project
  • Collaboration between Fanshawe College, Leads
    Employment Services, and the University of
    Western Ontario
  • Goal was to facilitate successful college
    education and employment of students with mental
    health issues via combining supported education
    and supported employment.
  • Funded by Ontarios Ministry of Community
    Social Services-Ontario Disability Support
    Program, Innovation Funds

7
Fostering Recovery Project
  • Fanshawe College
  • Over 14, 000 students approximately 1,600 with
    disabilities
  • Offers over 100 programs leading to certificates,
    diplomas, and degrees.
  • Provides counselling and a variety of student
    supports

8
Fostering Recovery Project
  • Leads Employment Services
  • Employment assistance for persons with barriers
    to employment due to physical health, mental
    health, developmental or learning disabilities.
  • Provide job preparation, job and skills
    development, transitional employment, job
    coaching, and job retention supports

9
Fostering Recovery Project
  • 37 students were enrolled in the project in
    2008-2009 school year.
  • Students saw both a college counselor and an
    employment specialist (at the college) on a
    regular or as needed basis. College counselors
    and employment specialists communicated with each
    other as needed.
  • The 37 students in the project
  • went to 60 interviews
  • were placed in 29 positions (paid and non-paid)
  • those in paid positions earned 8.75-18.17/hr
    (average 10.89/hr)
  • 19/29 placements were maintained 13 weeks.

10
Research Objective Question
  • To explore what is the lived experience of key
    involved stakeholders in relation to this project
    of students, their significant others, and
    their college counselors and employment
    specialists.

11
Method
  • Funding for evaluation was received by CAREMH.
    HSREB and CRIC approvals, as well as written
    voluntary informed consent, were obtained.
  • Participants
  • 6 students
  • 4 females, 2 males 19-46 years
  • Bipolar disorder (2), Schizoaffective disorder
    (2), major depression (2), generalized anxiety
    disorder (3), panic disorder (4), Obsessive
    compulsive disorder (3)
  • enrolled in culinary, interior decorating,
    tourism, computer programming, and social service
    worker
  • 5 significant others of these students
  • parents, spouses, children
  • 2 College Counselors, 2 Employment Specialists.

12
Method
  • A primarily phenomenological methodology with
    first person and shadowed data collection, by
    means of semi-structured interviews.
  • Student interviews
  • at the outset of the project (diagnostic
    assessments and qualitative interviews)
  • mid-year
  • end-of-year
  • Shadowed data from students significant others
    and project counselors interviews
  • mid-year
  • end-of year

13
Analysis
  • Thematic analysis was conducted on the
    transcribed and validated interview data.
  • Peer debriefing and triangulation across
    interviewee groups for trustworthiness.

14
Results - Project Benefits
  • Psycho/Social
  • Increased skills social, organization, stress
    management
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Students coping more effectively with their
    illnesses expressed demonstrated desire to
    better understand manage their illnesses
  • Desire for independence expressed importance of
    being independent

15
Results-Project Benefits
  • Educational/Vocational
  • Found it helpful to have someone to talk to
    comfortable with counselors liked hands-on
    Leads coaching help with job search
  • Some students able to gain employment - felt good
    about finding keeping work and earning income
  • Increased quality of schoolwork, socialization,
    confidence sense of pride, self-advocacy
  • Overall a good experience for the counselors

16
Results - Project Challenges
  • Scheduling issues sometimes made it difficult to
    see project staff
  • Schoolwork work were overwhelming
  • Some students needed to take time off for
    physical mental health problems
  • Not all students were able to obtain employment
  • College and employment environments were, at
    times, more difficult for older students
  • Counselors noted that students with more serious
    mental illness were more difficult to serve
  • Communication was sometimes difficult between
    collaborators
  • Employment specialist not present in the college
    enough

17
Results Student Related Barriers
  • Psycho/Social
  • Effects of students illness Some had poor
    insight into illness
  • Students easily affected by stress
  • Low self-confidence
  • Student Immaturity
  • Difficulty with initiative
  • Personality conflicts with other students Some
    engagement in socially inappropriate behaviours
  • Less than adequate social support network
  • Juggling education with family life was
    problematic at times

18
Results - Student Related Barriers
  • Educational/Vocational/Financial
  • Some delay in seeking help some did not wish
    to disclose their
  • illness to staff
  • History of personal academic struggles
  • Attention problems and problems with
    organization time
  • management often interfered with tasks
  • Programs chosen by students not always a good
    fit for
  • their needs, limitations, employment
    prospects
  • Limitations imposed by financial pressures
    (barriers related to
  • low income)

19
Results - Student Related Enablers
  • Motivated and determined to succeed
  • Hopeful, optimistic
  • Strong focus on college
  • Enjoyed the challenge, enjoyed going to college
    work
  • Strong career and educational goals
  • College involvement may have put students further
    ahead than typical Leads clients (those with
    supported employment but without supported
    education)

20
Results - Others Related Barriers
  • Students needed more support
  • College set-up and schedule a poor fit for
    students with mental illness
  • Older students were rejected by younger peers who
    were perceived as immature
  • Professors lack of understanding/knowledge about
    mental health problems or learning disabilities
  • Employer stigma
  • Lack of job stability

21
Results - Others Related Enablers
  • Good liaisons between project staff family
    and/or other services in the community
  • Helpful to have support during difficult times
  • Support by family, some peers, and some
    professors
  • College accommodations

22
Results - Suggestions for Improvement
  • Address need for increased social support
  • Improve coordination with other mental health
    care services
  • Make the college better fit student needs
  • Have Leads in the college more often, every week
  • Expand the project to other types of disabilities

23
Limitations of study (evaluation)
  • Exploratory design, e.g., small sample size, no
    control/active comparison
  • Short longitudinal evaluation (as compared to
    time needed to complete college and find and keep
    suitable work)

24
Conclusions
  • Various themes were found in relation to the
    lived experience of this project that combines
    supported post-secondary education with supported
    employment for people with mental illness.
  • Project content, process and context were
    relevant, some as barriers and some as enablers.

25
Future Directions
  • Further research is required and planned for more
    rigorous study of combining supported
    post-secondary education with supported
    employment for people with mental illness.
  • Adding cognitive remediation to this combination
    may further benefit this population, particularly
    people with SMI and with learning disabilities.

26
References Best, L. J., Still, M. Cameron, G.
(2008). Supported education Enabling course
completion people experiencing mental illness.
Australian J of Occupational Therapy, 55, 65-68.
Cook, J. A., Leff, S., Blyler, C. R., Gold, P.
B., Goldberg, R. W., Mueser, K. T., Toprac, M.
G., McFarlane, W. R., Shafer, M. S., Blankertz,
L. E., Dudek, K., Razzano, L. A., Grey, D. D.,
Burke-Miller, J. (2005) Results of a multisite
randomized trial of supported employment
interventions for individuals with severe mental
illness, Arch of Gen Psychiatry, 62, 505-512.
Gutman, S. A. (2008) Supported education for
adults with psychiatric disabilities.
Psychiatric Services, 59, 326-327. Kessler, R.
C., Foster, C. L., Saunders, W. B., Stang, P.
E. (1995) Social consequences of psychiatric
disorders, I Educational attainment. Am J of
Psychiatry, 152, 1026-1032. Megivern, D.,
Pellerito, S. Mobray, C. (2003). Barriers to
higher education for individuals with
psychiatric disabilities. Psychiatric
Rehabilitiation Journal, 26, 217-231. Mueser,
K. T., Salyers, M. P., Mueser, P. R. (2001). A
prospective analysis of work in schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia Bull, 27, 281296. Rudnick, A.
Gover, M. (2009) Combining Supported Education
and Supported Employment in Relation to Skilled
(Vocational) Occupations.
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