State of Illinois
Department of Human Services
Looking for a Job? Supported Employment Can Help You Find and Keep Meaningful Work
How Does Supported Employment Help You Succeed?
The Supported Employment program helps people with mental health conditions find and keep meaningful work. This is a program of the Illinois Department of Human Services, Divisions of Mental Health and Rehabilitation Services.
It is Important to Plan For Success
Work can be stressful for anyone. If you have a mental health condition, you may have been told that working may put your health at risk. You may have gotten sick when you worked in the past. Supported Employment helps you find and use the supports you need to succeed at work. Your Employment Specialist will help you think through the things that might cause you stress and plan around them. Here are examples of the kinds of things you may want to talk about with your Employment Specialist, members of your treatment team, friends, and family.
Starting the Job
First Day Worries
- What is my plan for managing the natural worries that come with starting a new job?
- Do I want extra support to get through my first day successfully?
Friends and Family
- Have I explained my work plans to my friends and family? Do they support my plan?
- How will I get to and return from work?
- Who should I call if transportation problems occur?
Arriving at Work
- Where do I go when I arrive on the first day?
- If I smoke, what are the work site regulations regarding smoking?
- Who do I go to if I have questions at work?
Keeping A Job
Talking About Mental Illness, Accommodations and Support
- Under what circumstances should I talk about having a mental illness?
- Is it a good idea to tell my boss about my mental illness? If so, how will I do it?
- Are there parts of my job that I may need to have changed to meet my needs?
- Will my Employment Specialist help with this?
- What are the tasks I do at work?
- How do I ask for help with these, if needed?
- How will I know if I am doing a good job?
People at Work
- How well am I getting along with my boss?
- How well do I get along with my coworkers?
- What can I do to get along better with my boss and coworkers?
Family and Friends Support
- Who can I call after work?
- What do my family and friends think about my working?
Money Management, Wages and Benefits
- How will I be paid?
- What is my plan for the money I earn at work?
- Do I have a bank account?
- How will a Benefits Planner help me get back to work?
- Who can help me make a plan to report income changes to agencies such as Social Security, Medicaid, and others?
Avoiding a Crisis
- What could happen at work that might make me feel upset or anxious?
- What is my plan if I become upset or anxious at work?
- How do I know if my work performance is OK? How do I find this out?
- If I use alcohol or drugs, how do they affect my ability to do my job?
- Who can I contact if I feel I am experiencing a crisis and need immediate assistance?
Think About Your Work Environment
- What has happened at work that has been stressful?
- What did I do to manage the situation?
- Is there anything I would do differently in the future?
- Are there small problems at work now that could turn into big problems?
- Is something at work bothering me or making me uncomfortable?
- Is there something that my employment specialist can do to help me?
Think About Your Personal Environment
- What things in my personal life cause, or might cause, increased stress (e.g., change in living arrangements, family disagreements, alcohol or drug use)?
- How will I know if these are affecting my work?
- What is my plan for managing these?
- How can my employment specialist and my team be of help?
How Do I Get Started?
If you are interested in supported employment, talk to your case manager, therapist, psychiatrist, employment specialist or Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) counselor. They can give you more information or help you get started.
What Else Should I Know?
More information on Supported Employment can be found in the other brochures in the Looking For a Job?: Supported Employment Can Help You Find and Keep Meaningful Work series:
- What is Supported Employment?
- How does Supported Employment Help You Find a Job?
Additional information is available at www.mentalhealthpractices.org.
- Everyone getting treatment for a mental health condition qualifies
- You will receive personalized benefits counseling
- Supported Employment is coordinated with your treatment
- You can begin looking for a job as soon as you say you are ready
- You will receive ongoing support
- We will help you find a competitive job that matches your personal preferences
To find out if supported employment is available near you, use the DHS Locator at http://www.dhs.state.il.us/officeLocator/ and look under Mental Health or Rehabilitation Services.
For more information
Call or visit your Illinois Department of Human Services' Family Community Resource Center (FCRC).
If you have questions about any Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) program, call or visit your FCRC. We will answer your questions. If you do not know where your FCRC is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline 24 hours a day at:
You may speak to a representative between: 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday (except state holidays)
For answers to your questions, you may also write:
Illinois Department of Human Services
Bureau of Customer and Provider Assistance
100 South Grand Avenue East
Springfield, Illinois 62762
Visit our web site at: www.dhs.state.il.us
Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.
DHS 4614 (N-06-07) SE - Planning for Success
Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois
11,000 copies IISG07-34