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Vocational rehabilitation via social firms: a qualitative investigation of the views and experiences of employees with mental health problems, social firm managers and clinicians

Morant, N; Milton, A; Gilbert, E; Johnson, S; Parsons, N; Singh, S; Marwaha, S; (2021) Vocational rehabilitation via social firms: a qualitative investigation of the views and experiences of employees with mental health problems, social firm managers and clinicians. BMC Psychiatry , 21 , Article 566. 10.1186/s12888-021-03577-5. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Employment within social firms in the UK is under-developed and under-researched, but a potentially beneficial route to vocational rehabilitation for people with mental health problems. This study explores the views and experiences of employees with mental ill-health, managers of social firms and mental health clinicians, in order to understand the potential value of social firms for the vocational rehabilitation, employment and well-being of people with mental health problems. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 employees with mental health problems in 11 social firms in England. A focus group and individual interviews were conducted with 12 managers of social firms. Two focus groups were held with 16 mental health clinicians. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Most employees expressed very positive views about working in a social firm. In responses from both employees and social firm managers, an overarching theme regarding the supportive ethos of social firms encompassed several related features: openness about mental health issues; peer, team and management support; flexibility; and support to progress and develop skills over time. Managers identified benefits of employing people with mental health problems who were sufficiently recovered. Knowledge of social firms within clinician focus groups was very limited, although clinicians thought they could be a welcome additional vocational resource. CONCLUSIONS: High levels of job satisfaction among social firm employees may be explained by the supportive ethos of these working environments. Social firms have potential to be a helpful addition to the range of vocational pathways available for people with mental ill-health. Further mixed methods investigations of experiences and outcomes in order to understand who engages with and benefits from this form of vocational rehabilitation would be valuable in informing decisions about scaling up the model.

Type: Article
Title: Vocational rehabilitation via social firms: a qualitative investigation of the views and experiences of employees with mental health problems, social firm managers and clinicians
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12888-021-03577-5
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-021-03577-5
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Mental illness, Qualitative research, Social enterprise, Social firms, Supported employment, UK, Vocational rehabilitation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139006
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