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Evaluation of a National Supported Employment Programme For People With Mental Health Problems
Singapore rolled out its first National Mental Health Blueprint in 2007 and Job Club was set up under the Blueprint the following year, to provide supported employment service for people with psychiatric problems. Occupational therapists (OTs) played a major role which included work readiness assessments, job task analyses, workplace modifications, employer education and support as well as jobsite support for service users. In addition, OTs also forged close partnerships with government agencies, corporate organisations and advocacy groups to improve employability among service users.
Objectives and Method
This paper attempted to share practice insights of the Job Club programme as well as evaluate its outcome. Job placement rates and job tenure data were tabulated, together with changes in Work Behaviour Inventory (WBI) scores between first and third month of open employment. Paired T-test was used to compare community ability (Multnomah Community Ability Scale), symptomatology (Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale) and quality of life (WHO QOL Brief) at baseline and one year after job placement.
Results and Implications
1584 job placements were made between April 2008 and September 2014. Number of service users who achieved more than 3 months of job tenure had almost doubled between 2008 and 2014. On average, 67% of service users showed improvement in work behaviour by three months of open employment. There were no significant changes in symptoms and community ability, but quality of life showed significant improvement.
Although OTs experienced challenges such as stigma, lack of availability of non entry-level jobs etc, job placement and job tenure rates improved over the years. Quality of life also improved with meaningful employment. This was brought about by a structured clinical process as well as collaborative efforts with the community.
Job Club has shown success in improving occupational performance and employment outcomes among people with mental health conditions.