Job Retention and Reintegration in People with Mental Health Problems: A Descriptive Evaluation of Supported Employment Routine Programs

Zürcher, Simeon Joel; Zürcher, Micha; Burkhalter, Michael; Richter, Dirk (2022). Job Retention and Reintegration in People with Mental Health Problems: A Descriptive Evaluation of Supported Employment Routine Programs Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 50(1), pp. 128-136. Springer 10.1007/s10488-022-01227-w

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Purpose Striking evidence supports the effectiveness of supported employment (SE) in achieving competitive employment in individuals with mental health problems. Yet, little is known whether SE is effective to maintain employment in individuals at risk of job loss. We aimed to descriptively compare SE for employed clients (SE-retention) and unemployed clients(SE-integration) regarding competitive employment. Methods We used administrative data from January 2017 to October 2021 provided by a vocational rehabilitation center in Switzerland including all individuals (≥ 18yrs.) with mental health problems who participated either in SE-retention or SE-reintegration. The outcome was the proportion with competitive employment at discharge. Logistic regression was used to assess time trends and to descriptively compare SE-treatments. We used propensity score weighting, including personal, clinical and program-specific information to reduce group differences. Results A total of 556 participants primarily diagnosed with mood/stress-related, schizophrenia and personality disorders were included (n = 297 SE-retention, n = 259 SE-reintegration) with median age 41 years and 57% female gender. The overall weighted comparison favored SE-retention over SE-reintegration OR 4.85 (95%-CI 3.10 to 7.58, p < 0.001) with predicted employment of 67.3% and 29.9% for SE-retention and SE-reintegration, respectively. While success for SE- reintegration remained stable over time, SE-retention showed an increase in more recent years. Conclusion SE-retention provides an approach for early work-related support that can prevent labor market exclusion. In contrast, reintegration is likely to require more efforts to achieve employment and may result in less favorable outcomes. It is therefore necessary that further research includes appropriate comparison groups to evaluate the effectiveness of SE- retention programs as well as the economic and individual benefits.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > Nursing
School of Health Professions > Nursing > Innovation in the Field of Mental Health and Psychiatric Care


Zürcher, Simeon Joel;
Zürcher, Micha;
Burkhalter, Michael and
Richter, Dirk0000-0002-6215-6110


R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine








Dirk Richter

Date Deposited:

30 Nov 2022 10:19

Last Modified:

24 May 2023 07:42

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

job maintenance · job retention · mental illness · return to work · rehabilitation · reintegration · supported employment (SE)




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