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Can Peer Support Specialists Deliver Technology-Based Job Interview Training for People with Psychiatric Disabilities? An Assessment of Community Needs and Priorities

People living with serious mental illness disproportionately live in chronic poverty; conversely, poverty is a risk factor for mental health problems. While 70% of people with serious mental illness want to work, only 10-15% are employed, in part because social and cognitive challenges may interfere with finding a job.

This project explores innovative ways that people with serious mental illness can obtain vocational support from Certified Peer Support Specialists (individuals with a lived experience of mental illness who have obtained training on how to serve others with similar experiences), and focuses on whether a virtual reality job interview training program (see can be effectively delivered by a Peer Support Specialist.

This project aims to inform best practices for job preparation programs for people with serious mental illness, and improve vocational and personal outcomes.

Adrienne Lapidos, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist
School of Social Work
Treatment Innovation and Dissemination Lab (TIDL)

Matthew Smith, Ph.D., MSW, MPE, LCSW
Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Treatment Innovation and Dissemination Lab (TIDL)

Michele Heisler, MD, MPH
Professor Michigan Medicine
Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation faculty affiliate