Supported Education

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, and that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”  -Nelson Mandela

Education is oftentimes the key to a successful life for many individuals. However, individuals with SMI have disrupted academic experiences that may have prevented typical career development. Supported Education (SEd) services assist individuals with career planning, assessing and accessing educational environments, understanding educational funding, and assisting with identifying academic supports and accommodations (SAMHSA, 2011).

Supported Education is based on a set of core principles (SAMHSA, 2011). The principles of SEd include:

  • Access to an educational program with positive, forward progress is the goal
  • Eligibility is based on personal choice
  • Supported Education services begin soon after individual expresses interest
  • Supported Education is integrated with treatment
  • Individualized educational services are offered for as long as they are needed
  • Consumer preferences guide services
  • Supported Education is strengths-based and promotes growth and hope
  • Recovery is an ongoing process facilitated by meaningful roles

Evidence for the Effectiveness of SEd:

There is evidence to support the important role that education plays in attaining employment. Individuals with more education face fewer barriers to employment and work more hours than those with less education. Individuals enrolled in SE programs are more likely to achieve employment when they have more education. However, there have been few published randomized controlled trials (RCT) to date that have examined the critical features and outcomes of SEd. One RCT that examined the effectiveness of educational supports on retention of postsecondary students with mental health conditions has been completed with reports of these findings on the way.

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