New study addresses importance of fulfilled lives for those with mental illnesses

    Can people with severe mental illnesses work, succeed, and live full lives? A major study is underway at Temple University to find out what helps them do just that.

    Temple University’s Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities recently received close to $5 million from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The money will be used to further research something called “community inclusion” of people with conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Community inclusion basically means working, going to school, having friends, dating, engaging in activities and so on.

    Temple’s Mark Salzer heads the research effort. “People should work and date and engage in activities, and spiritual activities,” he explained. “The research indicates that the people who do engage in these activities actually have fewer symptoms, are hospitalized less, and have higher quality of life.”

    Salzer says the national study will shed light on what helps people succeed and what barriers continue to stand in the way.

    Salzer says people with mental illnesses still are told not to work or get involved in activities for fear that it will be too stressful.

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