Mental Health Disability, Employment, and Income Support in the Twenty-First Century

  • Sherry A. Glied
  • Richard G. Frank
  • Joanna Wexler


This chapter focuses on how the changing twenty-first century economy impacts employment opportunities and income supports for people with mental health disabilities. Specifically, the substitution of computers and other automated technologies for low-skilled labor disproportionately impacts people with mental health disabilities, who often rely on these jobs to remain in the workforce. The shifting demands for labor suggest that without further action, there is likely to be a growing burden of mental-health-related work disability. While workplace accommodations exist for other disabilities, there have been few successful programs for those with mental illness. This chapter identifies four main areas of policy making that may ameliorate this growing problem: first, changes in income support policy that recognize the special features of mental illnesses without dramatically increasing enrollment in SSI/DI; second, the further development of interventions that are administered earlier in the course of illness than has typically been the case and that are more tailored to the functional impairments associated with work; third, new approaches to matching people with mental illnesses with jobs that are consistent with their capabilities; and fourth, creating incentives for employers to adopt technology and workplace accommodations that target people with mental illnesses.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherry A. Glied
    • 1
  • Richard G. Frank
    • 2
  • Joanna Wexler
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public ServiceNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Care PolicyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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