Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26520189
Encephale 2015 Dec;41(6):507-14
Getting and keeping a job are not only one of the criteria of recovery from schizophrenia, but are also one of its main means. Indeed, recovery is partly defined by the ability to work. Despite the lack of data in France about employment of people with schizophrenia, it is widely acknowledged that the employment rate of people with schizophrenia remains quite low, and frequently it is only an employment in sheltered workshops, not on the regular work market. International research data show that it is possible to improve significantly this employment rate, with an appropriate support, that is precisely defined by the current researches, and that is quickly spreading in most developed countries. The aim of this paper is to present, on the basis of a broad current literature review, the key predictive factors of the return to work for people with schizophrenia, and the strategies to optimize vocational services. It will appear that there are several ways to improve practices and interventions in France to support work integration. To begin with individual factors of work integration, dependant on each person, the clinical state and the cognitive skills (in a broad sense, including social cognition and metacognition) are to be taken into account, and optimized by means of the association of a finely tuned pharmacological treatment and psychosocial interventions such as cognitive remediation adjusted to the person’s specific needs. The other main kind of factors is environmental factors, particularly the kind of vocational support, which turns out to have a major impact not only on job acquisition, but importantly also on job tenure. The most effective vocational services are based on the “Place and train” model, and even more precisely on the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model, that allows to the majority of people with a severe mental illness (more than 50%) to obtain a competitive employment after 6 to 18 months of individualized support. This approach is now widely recommended as “an evidence-based practice” of rehabilitation. It is important to promote in France the development of this kind of practice, already implemented as an experiment by few militant and involved associations. This development remains in France slow and delayed (compared to the practices in the other European countries) because of the lack of public funding. It implies an evolution of the social and medico-social practices, taking into account current research data, and assessing the outcomes of their practices in order to improve them. The employment specialist (sometimes called also the “job coach”) turns out to play a key role, emphasized by current research, implying, among many other tasks, to coordinate the net of people supporting the work integration, including the clinical team, the employer and the colleagues of the workplace.