The viewpoints of employed people experiencing mental ill-health receive limited attention in reviews of employment-related research.
To identify implications from studies investigating the employment-related views of people with persistent mental ill-health to guide the further development of employment supports available to this group.
Published qualitative studies between 1998 and 2008 were searched, resulting in 20 studies for qualitative metasynthesis.
Four themes were synthesized from the findings:(a) employment has varied meanings, benefits, and drawbacks to weigh up; (b) strategies for maintaining employment and mental health are important and both require ongoing, active self-management; (c) diverse supports within and beyond the workplace are helpful; and (d) systemic issues add to the employment barriers.
Strategies based on these themes highlight how occupational therapists could initiate improvements in employment support and mental health services to increase their success in enabling satisfying and sustainable employment.