Authors: Dr David Edwards, VIC
Event: 2003 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Recovery Through Education and Employment
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: In the Western world, post secondary education is seen as the route the future; the process by which a career is chosen and launched, the pathway to upward mobility. Education is a major channel through which we can change and enhance our life goals. However, for people with a psychiatric disability, this resource is largely unavailable. Students with a physical, sensory or learning disability have been recognised as needing additional services in order to access and succeed at tertiary education. Unfortunately, the support needs of students with psychiatric disabilities are not so well met. In the USA, the concept of serving students with a psychiatric disability, in an educational setting is called 'Supported Education'. Supported education is defined as "Education integrated settings for students with a psychiatric disability for whom tertiary education has not traditionally occurred or for whom education has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of severe mental illness and who, because of their handicap, need ongoing support services to be successful in the education environment". A research project, which examined models of good practice in education programs both in the USA and in Australia, was conducted during 2000. Based on this research, the characteristics of a Supported Education program, which optimises the opportunity for students to graduate and access, paid mainstream employment. The combination of effective campus based supports and a seamless access to specialist employment services, skilled in the vocational support needs of job seekers with a mental illness is seen as the key to success.