The impacts of employment and volunteering for someone with a mental health condition: support workers’ perspectives

Melody Terras, Janel Muir*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


    Introduction and Aims
    Mental health conditions are becoming more prevalent within the UK population. Previous research demonstrates that employers have stigmatised attitudes towards candidates and employees with mental health conditions; and employees are often fearful to disclose their mental health status for fear of discrimination, despite protective disability legislation being in place. However, employment and volunteering have many mental health benefits in comparison to unemployment which generally has a negative impact on mental health. Mental health support workers make an important contribution towards the recovery of mental health service users by encouraging them to participate and volunteer in their community and supporting the move into employment. Despite their important role, little research has explored mental health support workers’ views. Therefore, this research investigated mental health support workers’ views and experiences of the impact of employability and volunteering for people with mental health conditions.

    Qualitative project where 6 mental health support workers from a Scottish mental health charity participated in individual semi-structured interviews exploring topics such as barriers to employment, how people can best be supported to stay in employment, and the opportunities and challenges of volunteering and employment. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed then analysed by way of thematic analysis.

    Three main themes were identified: “Social relationships”; “Employment and volunteering has meaning” (sub-themes: “A sense of purpose and routine” and “Confidence in self”); and “Employers’ attitudes determine the mental health impacts” (sub-themes: “Good employment is good for you” and “Ignorance to mental health isn’t bliss”).

    These themes help to illustrate and understand the impact that employment and volunteering can have for someone with a mental health condition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2019
    EventNRS Mental Health Network Annual Scientific Meeting 2019

    : Lost in Translation? Bringing Research Evidence to Practice & Policy
    - University of Strathclyde Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Duration: 29 Oct 2019 → …


    ConferenceNRS Mental Health Network Annual Scientific Meeting 2019

    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Period29/10/19 → …
    Internet address


    • Mental health
    • Stigma
    • Employment
    • Inclusion


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