SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)
Consumer Business and Outreach Program
Albany, New York
The Consumer and Business Outreach Program (CBOP) of the Mental Health Association in New York is a statewide initiative aimed at promoting the successful employment of individuals with mental illnesses. CBOPs main objectives are to assist individuals with mental illnesses in finding and maintaining employment, educating the business community about the importance of mental health, and increasing the rates of competitive work environments for individuals with mental illnesses.
Studies indicate that approximately 85 to 92 percent of individuals living with mental illness are jobless. Employment can play a significant role in enhancing recovery, contributing to overall life satisfaction, and integrating people within their communities. Individuals with mental illnesses who hold competitive jobs for an extended period of time frequently experience a number of benefits, including improvements in their self-esteem and symptom management. Effective employment programs targeting individuals with mental illnesses are needed to support recovery.
Developed in the late 1990s, CBOP recognized the need to assist individuals with mental illnesses in finding successful employment and in educating employers about mental illnesses. Through focus groups of employers in New York, CBOP identified the need to educate them at a higher and more intensive rate about mental health. In response, CBOP created a training program that teaches individuals the policies, laws, and effective workplace tactics for mental health.
CBOP also created the Business Advisory Council (BAC) Project, with the goal of creating partnerships with local affiliates, the business community, and others involved in the development of a successful labor force. Through the BAC Project, CBOP helps to develop local business advisory councils that implement its primary goal of obtaining employment for individuals with mental illnesses. The local councils work closely within their communities to identify employment opportunities and to address mental health issues.
CBOP has helped to educate and inform the business community of the importance of mental health and the significance of successful employment for individuals with mental illnesses. Through the BAC Project, it also has enhanced the recovery process for more than 300 individuals with mental illnesses by securing competitive employment. Employers involved with the project have reported high levels of satisfaction with job candidates. As of 2006, business advisory councils have been created in six New York counties, and local councils have functioned in various parts of the State. Continued efforts are under way to expand the BAC Project.
For further information about CBOP or the BAC Project, contact Samantha Phillips, M.S.W., Program Director, Consumer & Business Outreach, Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc., 194 Washington Avenue, Suite 415, Albany, NY 12210; phone: 518-434-0439 ext. 224; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: www.mhanys.org/programs/cbop.