ABSTRACT: Aims: The aim of this study is to describe how the mental health service users experienced social inclusion and employment in the EU EMILIA project. Methods: The study design is an intervention group follow-up study, with data collection at three points: baseline (T0), at 10-month follow-up (T1), and at 20-month follow-up (T2). The data for this study were collected with thematic in- terviews from mental health service users and were thematic analyzed with content analysis. The number of participants was 23 including two to four service users per each demonstration site. Results: Most users experienced improvement in their social life. Employment and participation in meaningful activities continued to improve to the end of the EMILIA project, although at a slower pace. In addition, users were motivated for work and actively searched for employment. Having a mental illness, stigma, and discrimination were reported to be obstacles to social inclusion. The difficulties identified in social relationships continued to exist. Conclusions: Train- ing intervention impact positively on mental health service users’ social inclusion and employment. However stigma, discrimination, and having a mental illness are still barriers to users’ integration.
International Journal of Mental Health, 2012, Vol 41, Issue 4, p. 3-23