Long-Term Impacts of Employment Interventions Targeted to People with Mental Health Conditions

DRC Brief Number: 2019-01
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Jan 31, 2019
Rachel Miller and Gina Livermore

Because mental health conditions can negatively affect employment, people with these conditions make up a large share of federal disability program participants. Federal agencies have tested supported employment (SE) interventions designed to help those with mental health conditions keep or obtain employment and reduce their dependence on public programs. This brief describes the characteristics of adults with mental health conditions who participate in the federal disability programs and reports evidence from three recent studies of longer-term impacts of SE on the employment of people with mental health conditions. The findings indicate that, although a large share of disability program participants with mental health conditions report that they want to work, many face barriers, including being discouraged by failed past work attempts. Although there is evidence that SE interventions can lead to positive impacts on employment and earnings for this population, the SE interventions studied to date have not reduced long-term reliance on federal disability benefits among those with mental health conditions.