Structured Employment Training for People with Mental Illness
People with psychiatric disorders are often misunderstood, feared, and shunned by society. Finding employment can be difficult for such people who are willing and able to work, even if they are undergoing or have completed treatment.
Scripps Health established the A-Visions Vocational Training Program, in partnership with the San Diego Mental Health Association and the Visions Program, to help decrease the stigma of mental illness. The program helps people receiving mental health treatment by providing vocational training, potentially leading to a greater level of independence.
Three steps to help obtain training and placement
The A-Visions Vocational Training Program is an individual-centered program with three distinct phases:
- Individual assessment
- Vocational training
- Vocational placement
Potential members of the A-Visions Vocational Training Program are evaluated through interviews with staff members. Physician approvals are also obtained before individuals are accepted into the program.
Once accepted into the program, each member is assigned a mentor who offers guidance and facilitates training. Members receive specific vocational training in a volunteer capacity.
The curriculum includes stress management, communication, grooming, interpersonal skills, customer service skills, and refresher courses in general work ethics. Members may select or be assigned to Food and Nutritional Services, Environmental Services, or areas within the hospital where clerical support is needed. All members receive 60-, 90-, and 120-day evaluations, as well as support from the program lead for approximately one year.
Vocational placement and volunteer opportunities
After successfully completing 120 days vocational training and successful completion of the program, members are considered for paid employment. The program lead coordinates placement within the hospital or with outside businesses. Pending available funding, program staff members can assist individuals who are accepted for placement with shopping for and buying work attire.
Participation has its rewards
Volunteers in the A-Visions Vocational Training Program complete the same orientation as all Scripps Mercy Hospital employees. The benefits of the program include:
- Vocational training in a therapeutic and supportive setting
- Certificates of completion
- Potential paid employment
- A personal commitment towards better mental health