MHAO Awarded Three Year Grant for Statewide Expansion of the Oregon Peer Employment Network

August 30, 2010
Press Release—For Immediate Release
Contact:  Beckie Child

Portland, Oregon – Mental Health America of Oregon (MHAO) has been awarded a $210,000 grant (over a three year period) from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for the OPEN Project (Oregon Peer Employment Network).

The OPEN Project will help people who use mental health services, including veterans, learn employment seeking skills. OPEN will also be producing a monthly electronic newsletter that is focused on employment.

“Meaningful work plays a vital role in promoting recovery and social inclusion, yet people who live with mental health conditions are disproportionately unemployed,” comments Beckie Child, President of MHAO. Nationally, between 60 and 80 percent of people diagnosed with mental illnesses are unemployed and, for people with the most severe mental illnesses, unemployment rates are as high as 90 percent.

“We are very pleased that SAMHSA is funding peer-run services in Oregon that promote employment for people who live with mental illness. This is a needed investment that will reap returns for Oregonians with psychiatric disabilities.”

For more than 30 years, MHAO has provided support and advocacy for mental health recovery and system transformation. MHAO is one of the primary mental health advocacy organizations in Oregon focused on mental health policy and the Oregon State Hospital. In 2001, MHAO became a peer-run organization and has been networking people who use mental health services through the Frontier Leadership Network in Eastern Oregon and the Central Oregon Leadership Network.