Employment for Persons with Mental Illnesses

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  • Fewer than 10% of persons with serious mental illnesses are employed.
  • The Federal government spend billions of dollars each year through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs to support persons with mental illnesses who are unemployed.
  • Illinois and its counties, cities and towns spend additional billions on persons with mental disabilities
  • Supported employment is the most cost effective intervention for persons with serious mental illnesses. 
  • Illinois has successful supported employment programs, some of which receive state  funding.  Unfortunately, only 2% of those who would benefit from these programs are participating.
  • Detail information about how to implement cost-effective supported employment programs and the research demontrating the effectiveness of these programs is available from the Dartmouth Supported Employment Center.
  • Summit member Thresholds recently won an significant award from the American Psychiatric Associtation for its supported employment program.


  • Illinois should expand its financial support for supported employment programs across the state.