Center on Psychiatric Disability and Co-Occurring Medical Conditions

Research Projects /
Incorporating Health and Wellness with Supported Employment in Peer-Run Programs

The purpose of this research project is to develop and study ways that evidence-based practice supported employment (EBP-SE) can be combined with wellness services, and delivered by peers to enhance outcomes in the areas of employment, health, and recovery. The importance of competitive employment to people recovering from psychiatric disabilities is well-established, as is the effectiveness of EBP-SE. More recently, evidence of the effectiveness of peer-run services has been growing, especially their impact on health and wellness. Peer supported employment (PSE) that focuses on health is an emerging practice that combines EBP-SE with the wellness, empowerment, and self-advocacy philosophy of peer-led services.

The project will center on the supported employment program at Baltic Street, a peer-run, not-for-profit corporation located in Brooklyn, New York. Other collaborators include the Office of Consumer Affairs in the New York State Office of Mental Health, peer services experts at the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey (CSPNJ), researchers at the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences and Dartmouth College, and our Center.

Baltic Street’s employment program serves about 160 adults with severe mental illness in two locations in Brooklyn. The project will work with employment staff at one of these locations to enhance its fidelity to EBP-SE and to augment these services with a model of peer-provided health and wellness activities focused on the return-to-work process. The enhanced model will serve 75 clients and will be evaluated using a quasi-experimental design.

Vocational program members at both locations who choose to join the research will complete pre and post surveys to assess their demographic, mental and physical health, quality of life, and vocational characteristics. In addition to survey data, the evaluation will utilize vocational outcomes data from the Baltic Street employment tracking database. Baltic Street’s existing employment program will serve as a comparison group, with selection bias adjusted via propensity scoring. Should the outcomes of the PSE program warrant, the Center will develop a manual of PSE which can be disseminated, implemented and evaluated in future, and will work with the NY State Office of Mental Health to ensure ongoing funding for this model.


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Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Long-Term Mental Illness
Employment Intervention Demonstration Project
Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy
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