The individual placement and support model of supported employment has been shown to be more effective than other vocational approaches in improving competitive work over one to two years in persons with severe mental illness. The authors evaluated the longer-term effects of the model compared with traditional vocational rehabilitation over 5 years.

A randomized controlled trial compared supported employment to traditional vocational rehabilitation in 100 unemployed persons with severe mental illness. Competitive work and hospital admissions were tracked for 5 years, and interviews were conducted at two and five years to assess recovery attitudes and quality of life. A cost-benefit analysis compared program and total treatment costs to earnings from competitive employment.

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