Strategies for Success

Getting a Job With a Mental Health Condition

Getting a job is a common goal for many people with a serious mental health condition, like schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Besides being a source of income, a job can help you to meet new people, give you purpose and direction, improve your physical and mental health, and help you to feel valued and appreciated.

It's important to think about what you want in your life. Getting a job may help or get in the way of your mental health recovery.

Getting Started

  • Build Confidence: Sometimes our attitudes limit what we think is possible. It's important to believe in yourself and be interested in and ready to get a job
  • Understand Your Benefits: If you are receiving SSDI/SSI benefits, make sure to talk to your treatment team or visit www.SSA.gov to find out about programs which can help you return to work without losing your benefits
  • Know Your Options: Meaningful employment can include full- or part-time jobs, training programs, volunteering, or apprenticeships

If you are interested in joining the workforce, try partnering with your treatment team to explore your options and decide which type of employment is right for you

Possible Options Include:

  • Volunteering
    • Unpaid positions that can offer you valuable work experience
  • Competitive Employment
    • Paid positions that are available to anyone regardless of mental health status
  • Supportive Employment
    • Competitive jobs with short- and long-term supports to help you stay employed
  • Transitional Employment
    • Time-limited jobs, often in clubhouses, that can increase work experience and improve job skills

Print out and use the Preparing to Get a Job worksheet to help figure out which type of employment program or supports are right for you.