Rural and Urban Supported Employment Programs in the Veterans Health Administration: Comparison of Barriers and Facilitators to Vocational Achievement for Veterans Experiencing Mental Illnesses


This article discusses a study comparing supported urban and rural employment programs for veterans with mental illnesses.


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to compare urban and rural supported employment programs on barriers and facilitators with employment for veterans experiencing mental illnesses. Supported employment personnel from rural programs perceived significantly more barriers to work success compared with urban personnel, particularly in the areas of access to services and a range of job-related factors, including job match and interpersonal relationships at the work site. In contrast, participants from urban programs reported greater facilitators in the domain of mental health services. Qualitative findings add depth to the quantitative findings and highlight challenges in rural supported employment programs impacting job development and job fit. Both urban and rural programs experienced unique barriers related to geography and transportation. Findings from this nationwide mixed-methods survey provide a comprehensive picture of the obstacles to employment success for veterans living with mental illnesses and receiving supported employment services in rural areas. Suggestions for changes in policy related to services and resource allocation are presented to address these unique barriers, particularly in rural areas.

Full Reference

Kukla, M., McGuire, A. B. and Salyers, M. P., 2016. Rural and urban supported employment programs in the Veterans Health Administration: Comparison of barriers and facilitators to vocational achievement for veterans experiencing mental illnesses. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 39(2), 129-136.