Preliminary results regarding job placement of a group of psychotic patients

Introduction: The Psychosocial and Vocational Rehabilitation Unit has developed a comprehensive service provision system in psychosocial rehabilitation. The program is comprised of three stages - the prevocational stage (0-6 months), the vocational stage (6-18 months) and the placement stage (indefinite duration). The innovative contribution of the P.V.R.U. lies in the development, the constant support and the operational networking with self-managed structures, as well as Non Governmental Organizations.

Objective: Describing the operation program of the P.V.R.U., as well as the evaluation, training and improvement of patients' social, vocational and cognitive skills, in order to redefine their aims in more realistic terms, so as to be later integrated in the labour market or in sheltered employment.

Material and Methods: A sample of 109 patients was recruited: 76 males and 33 females, with age ranging from 20 to 60 years old (mean age, x=36, SD=9 years). All of the participants had completed the psychosocial rehabilitation program of the P.V.R.U.. 88% of the patients had met the DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia. The vast majority of the participants were celibate (91%) and they were living either with their families (72%), or in sheltered homes (15%), while only 12% lived alone.

Results: Until today, 60 people have completed the 18-month program and, after being evaluated, have been promoted vocationally as follows: 28,39% are able to work in the labour market, 35,07% in sheltered employment, 5% are able to continue their studies and 25,5% are in need for further therapeutic support. However, the follow-up stage showed that from the total of 28,39% of patients who are able to be employed in the labor market, only 14.3% managed to secure a job placement. With regards to the patients, which had been assessed as capable of being employed in sheltered employment structures, only 32,1% managed to be employed, too.

Conclusions: The results indicate that, although a great number of patients have been evaluated by the therapeutic team as able to be employed in the labor market, there still exists a percentage of mental patients who cannot be employed. Meanwhile, as the population participating in psychosocial rehabilitation programmes is constantly increasing, the development of a provision plan for the socio-employment integration of these patients becomes mandatory. Thus, it is of utmost importance to seek solutions in the field of Social Economy by developing self-managed structures of occupational/vocational integration of the mental patients, such as Social Enterprises and Social Cooperatives. Encephalos 2010, 47(4):199-206