Christl Bradley & Taryn Gmitroski

A Scoping Review Examining the Facilitators and Barriers for Emerging Adults with Mental Illness

Authors: Christl Bradley, Taryn Gmitroski, Kim Mueser, Steve Mathias, Sarah Irving, Stephanie Gillingham, Dan Huang-Taylor, & Dr. Skye P. Barbic

Introduction. Among young adults living in Canada, 20-25% experience mental health problems. At this stage, youth are typically completing school or career training, and laying the foundation for a their independent future. For young adults with mental illness, there is a gap in knowledge about youth-specific models of supported employment that enable youth to concurrently achieve their employment/education goals while successfully self-managing their illness. Objectives. (1) To outline the existing scope and breadth of knowledge currently available regarding supported employment programs for youth with mental illness. (2) Understand the barriers and facilitators to employment for youth with mental illness who have accessed a supported employment program. Approach. To meet the first objective, a scoping review of the literature will be conducted. To meet the second objective, we will conduct focus groups with youth who have participated in a local supported employment program tailored to their age range. We will use themes and information gathered from the focus groups to inform and support the findings of the scoping review. Practice implications. By understanding the barriers and facilitators to employment faced by youth, health care professionals and health services can be better equipped to meet the needs of young adults who want to gain employment. Results. Findings from both the scoping review and information gathered in the focus groups display that supported employment programs tailored to youth focusing on engagement in meaningful activity and employment result in higher quality of life, increased self-efficacy, and promote recovery from mental illness. The literature shows that the supported employment programs can be improved by incorporating a longer and consistent follow-up period to support youth throughout the development of their years of employment. Conclusions. The results will contribute to much needed evidence towards how best to improve the standard of care and securing/ maintaining employment for young adults who experience mental illness, in Canada and beyond.


Hoffman, H., J├Ąckel, D., Glauser, S., Mueser, K. T., Kupper, Z. (2014). Long-term Effectiveness of Supported EMployment: 5-year follow up of a randomized controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry 171:11, 1183-1190.