Family Service League will participate in National Study

09.28.2017

Family Service League will participate in National Study Looking at the Effects of Employment on Disability and Wellness

Family Service League is proud to be one of 30 agencies from across the country selected to be part of the federal Supported Employment Demonstration (SED).  The SED is a 6-year study funded by the US Social Security Administration.  The study, conducted by Westat, looks at how employment services, along with integrated behavioral health and social services, can help people experiencing mental health conditions find meaningful employment.

This national study of over 3,000 adults begins October 2017.  The participants will be assigned to one of three study conditions for up to 36 months.   All receiving various levels of supported employment services and behavioral health support.

The SED builds on the successes of the Mental Health Treatment Study (MHTS) which was conducted by the US Social Security Administration and Westat over a 5-year period (2006 – 2011) for individuals who were already receiving disability benefits for a mental illness.  The MHTS implemented the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of Supported Employment.  The SED will test whether offering this same evidence-based package of integrated employment and mental health services to individuals experiencing disability earlier in the illness process will lead to employment, improved mental health and quality of life, and less need for disability benefits. The MHTS and many other studies show that IPS Supported Employment for individuals experiencing mental illness results in the following benefits:

  • Increased income
  • Improved self-esteem, social networks, and quality of life
  • Better control of symptoms and reduced substance use
  • Reduced use of mental health services

In contrast, unemployment among persons with mental illness is associated with increased physical and mental health problems, reduced self-esteem, alienation and apathy, loss of social contacts and increased substance abuse.

 “Given the interest in supporting employment efforts of persons with disabilities, studies such as the Supported Employment Demonstration, are vital.  It is helpful for policymakers to have an evidentiary base from which to consider potential program improvements and innovations that can strengthen the ability of individuals with disabilities to work.  For over 90 years, Family Service League has been an advocate for those in need of social service and mental health programs. We are proud to have been selected as one of the 30 agencies nationwide to participate in this important study.”

– Karen Boorshtein, FSL President & CEO