This fact sheet addresses occupational wellness and is part of PRA Well-Being’s eight-part Tips for Providers series. The Tips for Providers series highlights how providers can enhance the wellness of individuals with mental health conditions through each of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Each fact sheet examines strategies to enhance that dimension of wellness, provides an overview of how each dimension of wellness relates to the other dimensions, and highlights how each dimension of wellness relates to mental health.

This fact sheet details how occupational wellness is not restricted to paid employment, but is also about participating in activities that are engaging both intellectually and socially. These activities provide meaning, purpose, and structure. Research has indicated that having an occupation or some form of voluntary work is essential in recovery from a behavioral health condition. Conversely, unemployment can negatively impact the recovery process, underscoring the essential nature of this dimension of well-being.

Occupational wellness can be supported by activities that requires engagement and social roles, regardless of whether an individual receives payment for the activity or if the activity is one for which an individual pays. Roles can be part-time, full-time, volunteer, school-based, or related to caretaking. Each of these roles, regardless of monetary exchange, involves a structured investment of effort that can have a positive effect on an individual’s self-image and increase life satisfaction. The sense of purpose and fulfillment that can result from any social role is incredibly beneficial for one’s mental health, laying the groundwork to improve outcomes for individuals in recovery.

The latter half of this fact sheet provides information to providers pairing individuals in recovery with employment opportunities, including maintaining employment and practicing money management. When connecting individuals in recovery with employers, it is important to select workplaces that collaborate closely with employment specialists to ensure that appropriate accommodations are made to support the employee’s needs.

View the other fact sheets in this series:

This resource was first shared in 2019.