Facilitating Careers for Mental Health
The Facilitating Careers for Mental Health Consumers conference was designed to bring together: 1) consumers who deliver
vocational services to persons with psychiatric disabilities; 2) non-consumer vocational service providers; and 3) members of the academic and research communities, in order to explore employment issues related to
peer support and the establishment of careers for persons with psychiatric disabilities. The conference aimed to encourage and establish ongoing dialogues between these three groups thus leading to a better
understanding of the nature and ramifications of peer support and career outcomes in vocational services.
The conference, held in April of 1998, was the third in a series of conferences on vocational rehabilitation for persons with psychiatric disabilities. These conferences were collaboratively planned
by the three national rehabilitation research and training centers (RRTCs) which focus on adults with psychiatric disabilities: the Matrix Research Institute/Penn RRTC, the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation/Boston University RRTC, and the UIC NRTC. The first conference was held in Philadelphia, PA in October, 1994 and was coordinated by
the Matrix Research Institute/Penn RRTC. The second conference was held in April of 1996 in Boston, MA and was convened by the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. The third
conference was convened by the UIC NRTC on April 13-15, 1998 in Chicago.
More than 100 people attended the three-day conference. A total of 15 sessions were offered by over 30 presenters, as well as a plenary session at which the directors of each of the three
NIDRR/CMHS-funded Centers described their recent work related to consumer careers and professional development. Sessions focused on the following topics: reconceptualizing career development for people
with psychiatric disabilities; consumer self-advocacy with employers and coworkers; vocational models integrating peer supports and services; disclosure issues in professional and managerial careers; the university
as a workplace; multivariate approaches to studying employment outcomes; supported education for career advancement; women's career issues; and guiding transition-aged youth toward careers. In the evening of
the conference's second day, a presentation of multi-media art, drama, and music was offered under the theme of Consumer Careers in the Arts by local mental health consumers currently working in their chosen field.
For more information about this conference or to obtain a copy of the conference proceedings, email the Dissemination Administrator, Tina Carter, or phone him at