People with mental illness returning to work

A qualitative evaluation of a Norwegian project
Objective: Several studies demonstrate the need for a unified effort by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) and health services to support people with mental illness who wish to return to work and simultaneously receive treatment. The aim of the present qualitative evaluation study is to develop a deeper understanding of the participants' experiences of being involved in the NAV project called “Work, Substance Abuse and Mental Health”, which helps service recipients to combine work and treatment. Methods: The study involved the use of qualitative research interviews. Seven NAV project participants completed an interview and their data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: The results suggest that this project is effective from both a salutogenic perspective and a recovery-oriented perspective. Increased lust for life as a result of diverse forms of support and a flexible personalized service with rapid intervention was identified. The results also show phenomena that contributed to stagnation and life longings, or a decrease in quality of life. Conclusion: The success of the project depends on the NAV office. Future research should investigate cooperation between therapists and NAV advisers, participants' ambivalence, and explore other factors important for relationship building.

Source: Mikkelsgård, Karin Alice; Granerud, Arild; Høye, Sevald; Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2014 May; 21 (3): 172-80.

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