For those with the lived experience of mental illness, employment can be crucial to recovery and wellness. Work brings with it the universal feelings of hope, self-determination, self-respect, social connections, responsibility and personal empowerment — tools that are critical to stability. For these reasons, it is essential that providers in the behavioral health community work toward maximizing employment opportunities for people with lived experience of mental illness.
In 2013, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency's Behavioral Health Services Division initiated the Supported Employment Initiative for the Adult and Older Adult System of Care. The contract for consulting services was awarded to the San Diego Workforce Partnership and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, which, in partnership with the County and numerous stakeholders, created a Five-Year Strategic Employment Plan (2014–2019). These efforts align with Live Well San Diego, the county’s 10-year initiative to build a healthy, safe and thriving community. The overarching goal of the Strategic Employment Plan is to reduce stigma of mental illness while increasing employment opportunities for individuals with mental illness.
The stakeholders for this plan have transitioned into the Work Well Committee, which will guide its long-term implementation and focus on systemic data collection and evaluation. The Work Well Committee meets at the San Diego Workforce Partnership on the second Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m.
For more information about the plan or committee meetings, contact Mario Becerra, Program Specialist, at (619) 228-2902 or MarioBecerra@workforce.org.