People living with mental illness can often face barriers to employment or study.
Media Release: Employment and Vocation a focus for Mental Health Week 2017

9 October, 2017

During Mental Health Week (October 8 – 14, 2017), Neami National will focus on raising awareness about the role that employment and vocation can play in mental health recovery.

Research suggests that participating in employment and study can have a positive impact on personal recovery (Chang et al., 2016), with benefits including improved wellbeing, increased self-esteem and an increased quality of life (Harvey et al., 2013).

However people living with mental illness can often face barriers to employment or study. Stigma in and out of the workplace, the stress of job hunting or study, and the ability to manage symptoms alongside a vocation can contribute to lower rates of employment amongst people experiencing mental illness (Harvey, et al., 2013; Waghorn, et al., 2012).

To address these barriers and support full citizenship for people living with mental illness, in New South Wales, Neami National operates the WorkWell program. Built from the evidence-based Individual Supported Employment (IPS) model, WorkWell offers people living with mental illness flexible and tailored support to seek and obtain competitive employment.

Neami National CEO, Arthur Papakotsias explains, “Consumers have told us that employment, training or vocational education is an integral part of their recovery journey. We’re proud to be able to support people to work towards their employment and study goals, and of the success of the WorkWell program.”

Since 2011, WorkWell has supported 150 consumers to seek employment. Of that number, 77 consumers have gained competitive employment, with an additional 25 consumers entering training, volunteer or study placements.

Stephen gained employment through WorkWell. Stephen explains, “I was depressed before I started work. I’m so stoked. I’ve never had a job that really appreciated my lived experience, it’s not something I have to hide or keep secret. I’m doing something that I love, that’s keeping me active.” Stephen works as a Peer Support Worker at Neami Hurstville.


Neami National is a community mental health service supporting people living with mental illness to improve their health, live independently and pursue a life based on their own strengths, values and goals. Neami National provide services in diverse communities in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, ranging from the inner-city and suburbs to regional and remote areas.


For more information contact Rebecca Hannon

Acting Senior Manager Marketing and Communications
03 8691 5300


Chang L, Douglas N, Scalan J N, Still M (2016). Implementation of the enhanced intersectoral links approach to support increased employment outcomes for consumers of a large metropolitan mental health service. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 79 (11) 643-650

Harvey SB, Modini M, Christensen H, et al. (2013) Severe mental illness and work: What can we do to maximise the employment opportunities for individuals with psychosis? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 47(5) 421–424.

Waghorn, G. Dias, S. Gladman, B. Harris, M. (2012) Measuring what matters: Effectiveness of implementing evidence-based supported employment for adults with severe mental illness. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 22 (9), 411-420

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