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Healthcare is changing at a rapid pace. Movement toward evidence-based practice has evolved more in this last decade. However, mental health treatment has limited studies on evidence-based practices and guidelines compared to other specialty areas in the healthcare setting. As a mental health nurse practitioner, holistic care is a key component utilized daily to provide clients with mental illness effective, health-promoting treatment.

This purpose of this paper is to analyze a qualitative study conducted where participants, in a recovery stage of mental illness, were interviewed regarding benefits and barriers to employment following a serious mental illness incident or hospitalization (Dunn, Wewiorski, & Rogers, 2008). The study consisted of 23 participants in a recovery level of mental illness. These participants were interviewed regarding work and employment themes and its relation to the recovery from mental illness.

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The results consisted of two basic themes which described employment providing the clients with mental illness a purpose and goal as well as promoting recovery from mental illness. Employment aided the clients financially, boosted self-esteem, and provided the clients with a sense of purpose and value that clients with mental illness often lack. The participants were on a volunteer basis that were in a recovery state of mental illness and varied by age, gender, and education.

The diagnosis included psychotic symptoms, mood disorders, and depressive disorders, with half having a co-existing substance abuse disorder. The questions asked were involving emotional, physical, social, cognitive, vocational, and psychological domains and the relationship of the employment’s benefit to these domains. The identified limitations in the study was the study did not identify a significant theme or explore how the participants were able to obtain employment status and maintain the status while suffering from mental illness and the minute number of participants interviewed.

All of the participants in the study were in a recovery level for at least two years which was a requirement for the interview. As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP), this author has seen mental health treatment shift from institutionalized care to a community-based model of care. Recently, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) has implemented the state’s first peer-to-peer support program in an effort for mental health promotion and recovery.

Encouragement was seen with this study due to it consisted with the new modality of treatment and recovery-oriented type of health promotion. Employment provides the clients with a sense of purpose and goal in life, financial benefits, reduces isolative tendencies, and promotes well-being and self-actualization. Many clients suffering from mental illness have none of these.

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