The SESAMI evaluation of employment support in the UK: Background and baseline data
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Aims: This study evaluates real world employment support for people with severe mental health problems in the UK. Given a policy context which promotes social inclusion and welfare to work, we wanted to find out about typical employment services and their effects on people with mental health problems. Method: A case study design was adopted, incorporating qualitative and quantitative interviews with staff and users of each service. After screening for severity, 182 individuals met our inclusion criteria for current use of the services. They were interviewed about their current engagement with support services, their employment and job satisfaction if employed. Measures of self esteem, hope/optimism and job satisfaction were taken as outcomes. Results: We report here associations between the outcome measures and: current working status; support from the agency; and demographic features at baseline. People who were working had higher outcome scores than those who were in work preparation or training. People working with support had higher job satisfaction. Conclusions: The study highlights the methodological issues raised by doing real world research. These findings were generated by heterogeneous interventions in non-experimental settings. Despite this, they tend to support previous evidence in favour of early placement and ongoing support in work. Declaration of interest: This study was financed by the European Social Fund and the six practice partners made contributions in kind.