Supporting workers with mental health problems to retain employment: users’ experiences of a UK job retention project

Josh Cameron, Carl Walker, Angela Hart, Gaynor Sadlo, Imogen Haslam, The Retain Support Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives to understand experiences and perspectives of job retention project users in relation to challenges faced and support received, to develop explanatory insight into effective interventions. Participants 14 employed users of a United Kingdom job retention project, with a range of mental health problems. Methods Semi structured individual interviews which were collaboratively designed with service users. Data analysis involved deductive and inductive thematic analysis, constant comparative analysis, and service user collaboration. Results Participants feelings of guilt and self blame were a major obstacle to job retention. The project helped them address these by supporting a reappraisal of their situation. This assisted identification of job accommodations and adjustments and confidence in self advocacy. Thus an important basis for improved dialogue with their employer was established. A peer support group provided an important adjunct to individual project worker interventions. 10 participants retained employment, three of those who did not were helped to retain work aspirations. Conclusions The project effectively used a multi faceted approach involving a person environment occupation focus on the worker, their work, and workplace. Such complex interventions may offer more promise than those interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy which have a primary focus on the individual worker.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

© 2012 IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.


  • Return to work
  • employment services
  • person-environment=occupation
  • peer support
  • self advocacy


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