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An exploration of the employment experiences, needs, and aspirations among unemployed men receiving mental health support living in the South Wales Valleys. / Helen Margaret Jones

Swansea University Author: Helen Margaret Jones

Abstract

A great deal of quantitative research has been carried out on unemployment and mental health; employment practice; and barriers to employment for people with mental health problems. Many researchers have described the need for more qualitative studies in this field of research, often with a particul...

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Published: 2008
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Master of Philosophy
Degree name: M.Phil
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42520
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Abstract: A great deal of quantitative research has been carried out on unemployment and mental health; employment practice; and barriers to employment for people with mental health problems. Many researchers have described the need for more qualitative studies in this field of research, often with a particular emphasis on the experiences of people with severe mental illness with regard to employment; as well as consumer perspectives and perceptions on the facilitators and barriers to employment. This research used the abbreviated grounded theory version described by Willig (2001) to examine the employment experiences, needs and aspirations amongst people with severe and enduring mental health problems. 15 in-depth interviews were carried out with unemployed men receiving mental health support living in the South Wales Valleys. Transcripts from the interviews were analysed using a grounded theory approach, as outlined in Strauss & Corbin (1998). The proposed theory resulting from this research is that individuals with mental health problems who become unemployed follow a pathway of experiences which impact upon the meaning of work to them and their self concept. Following the onset of mental ill-health, the impact of mental health problems also affects identity. This results in an identity shift between the valued worker and the devalued 'mental patient,' and an identity struggle between the two identities. Implications for policy and practice include the need to consider the mental health support and vocational support which is currently provided, as well as considering ways in which to break the pathway to unemployment which people with mental health problems travel down. Suggestions for future research include examining the effectiveness of stress management programmes for people with mental health problems in the workplace, examining the effects of medication compliance and side effects on work performance; and a review of mental health and vocational service provision in Wales.
Keywords: Clinical psychology.;Occupational psychology.
College: College of Human and Health Sciences