For many people living with mental illness, employment is an important step on the road to recovery, linked with positive notions of identity and self-worth, as well as quality of life. Yet the unemployment rate for people with mental illness is remarkably high — as much as 80 percent, according to one estimate, compared to less than 4 percent for the general population. This even as the majority of people with mental illness — six in 10, according to one estimate — want to work.
The reasons are complicated, but two stand out: lack of experience, or gaps in experience, on the part of people with mental illness, and continued stigma around mental illness among many employers. Each contributes to the other in a self-perpetuating cycle of exclusion.
But with support from the University of Notre Dame, Clubhouse of St. Joseph County is attacking the problem head-on, creating opportunities for both employers and people with mental illness.
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