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CLM seeks to increase job opportunities for mentally ill

Union Leader Correspondent

August 11. 2014 9:26PM

CLM staff members Kathy Raymond, left, and Amy Izzett. Raymond is director of functional support services and supported employment; Izzett is team leader, supported employment. (HUNTER McGEE /Union Leader Correspondent)

DERRY — Helping people with mental illness find and keep jobs in the Granite State is the goal of a supported employment program run by the Center for Life Management.

And with 80 percent of the mentally ill jobless nationally, the program is achieving above average success, according to CLM representatives.

In New Hampshire, the unemployment rate for people receiving public mental health services is one of the lowest in the nation at 67.3 percent, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

CLM has four full-time specialists, with 74 participants currently participating in the program, said Amy Izzett, team leader for supported employment.

“One of the numbers that we love the most is that out of those 74 consumers, 45 percent of them have secured and are currently maintaining employment,” Izzett said.

Izzett also cited other statistics that show the program is making a difference for job seekers with mental illness in the Greater Derry area and throughout the state.

Since the program was implemented in 2005, 393 participants have utilized the services, Izzett said.

Kathy Raymond, CLM’s director of functional support services and supported employment, said the supervisors and employees know the beneficial impact employment can have in the lives of people with mental illness. This caring, client-based approach is what’s behind the successful numbers, she said.

“We know employment matters; it’s a philosophy, a key component to our agency,” Raymond said. “So, we have tremendous support from the state, from our senior leadership, from every member of our team, so we really value employment.”

From the initial appointment, the focus is on employment and there is a 24- to 48-hour turnaround in the job placement process.

“So, if someone is thinking about work, within 24 to 48 hours that case is placed, and they can support the participant immediately,” Raymond said.

Staff members also have small case loads and take part in the treatment process of clients; they work collaboratively with the therapist and with the case manager.

“It’s very much a wraparound support that we offer,” Raymond said.

And to rate their performance with helping job seekers, CLM employees have their own grading system or report card known as “Fidelity.”

Participants in the program choose the career path they want to pursue. For instance, if they want to work in the health field as a nurse, the supported employment specialist working with them will concentrate the search only within that area, Izzett said.

“It’s really their choice,” Izzett said.

Clients are currently working at various locations throughout the state, in a variety of fields. Some participants work in office environments, while others are employed in retail or service work, Izzett said.

“We don’t exclude anybody,” she said. “We’ll work with anybody who has a desire to work.”

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