S39: Finding hope and resilience within the context of the recent Australian Government Disability Employment Services reforms.

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By September 11, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Alexandra Devine, Cathy Vaughan, Anne Kavanagh, Lisa Brophy

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Finding hope and resilience within the context of the recent Australian Government Disability Employment Services reforms.

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Ms. Devine is a researcher with the Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on mental health and disability inclusive development. Ms. Devine is currently undertaking a PhD exploring the life circumstances of people with mental health conditions engaged with Disability Employment Services.

Work is a fundamental human right that facilitates recovery for people who experience mental health conditions, by supporting health and well-being, socio-economic conditions and social participation [1, 2]. Having choice and control over one’s decision-making processes is also a vital component of an individual’s personal recovery [3]. Recent reforms to the Australian Federal Government’s Disability Employment Services implemented in July 2018, aim to achieve both enhanced participant choice and control and improve employment outcomes for people with disability, including the 38.3% of current participants whose disability is associated with their lived experience of mental health conditions. This presentation presents their stories of engagement with DES and the labour market, describing factors within and external to DES which influence hope and resilience. In doing so, we hope to highlight how DES providers can work with participants to better support hope and resilience, despite the challenges encountered under the recent reforms. The paper draws on findings from the Improving Disability Employment Study - a quantitative survey of 350 people with disability currently engaged with employment services, as well as findings from 60 qualitative interviews with participants engaged with DES providers specialised in working with people with mental health conditions.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: This presentation will support the opportunity for the audience to learn from the perspectives of participants on: 1) factors influencing their hope and resilience with the context of the DES reforms, and 2) how DES providers could enhance their engagement with participants, employers, and mental health services and other systems relevant to supporting access to work.
Learning Objective 2: The changing policy and funding landscape that impacts on mental health services and Disability Employment Services requires these services to understand the challenges and opportunities that they each experience. This will enable these services to identify how they can collaborate together to improve employment, life circumstances and hope and recovery for people living with mental health conditions

1. Simonsen, M., E. Fabian, and G. Ethridge, Youth and Adults With Psychiatric Disabilities: Improving Career and Employment, in Career Development, Employment, and Disability in Rehabilitation: From Theory to Practice, D.R. Strauser, Editor. 2013, Springer Publishing Company: New York. p. 401.
2. Slade, M. and E. Longden, The empirical evidence about mental health and recovery: how likely, how long, what helps, in Melbourne: MI Fellowship. 2015.
3. Leamy, M., et al., Conceptual framework for personal recovery in mental health: systematic review and narrative synthesis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2011. 199(6): p. 445-452.

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