A Canadian model of work integration for persons with mental illnesses
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PURPOSE: The many programmes, services and policy initiatives that focus on work integration for persons with mental illnesses and psychiatric disabilities reflect a multitude of beliefs and practices that lead the field to work in divergent, sometimes conflicting directions. This article presents a framework of the central constructs that dominate the field of work integration and mental illness. METHOD: Using the principles of constructivist grounded theory, an analysis of Canadian documents was conducted; the sample was comprised of 100 academic publications, 76 government documents, 138 popular press, 5 legal papers and 107 documents from work initiatives across Canada. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 key informants from across Canada. RESULTS: Five central perspectives were identified, around which the field of work integration currently operates: a competency perspective; a citizenship perspective; a workplace health perspective; a perspective focussing on potential, growth and self-construction; a community economic development perspective. CONCLUSIONS: Uncovering the varied discourses around work integration enables an understanding of the different ways in which the problem of work integration has come to be seen in today's context; how it is understood, spoken about, dealt with and internalised by individuals and groups. The framework sheds light on the rationale for the range of solutions that have been developed to address the problem of work integration, and it is useful in the analysis of how policy, practice and research initiatives are shaped and promoted.
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