Psychosocial Characteristics of Aging Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities Seeking VR

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2009

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling


The occurrence of psychiatric conditions among people 55 years and older ranges from dementia, cognitive disorders, depression/mood and anxiety disorders, to severe mental illness (i.e., schizophrenia, bipolar disorders) and substance abuse disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health (2009) identified depression as the major mental health concern for older citizens in general. Attention to the older vocational rehabilitation (VR) population with psychiatric conditions is relatively recent, and evidence suggests that middle-aged and older people with mental illness are understudied and underserved in the field of vocational rehabilitation. This article presents a description of the 50 to 69 year old cohort of persons with psychiatric conditions who were served by VR from 2002 to 2006 nationally as compared to North Carolina (NC) state VR data for the same period of time, discusses public funding for mental health treatment of this group and the role of health insurance parity, and addresses potential implications and needs for future research for this population.


Rightsholder: SPRINGER PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC. Copyright National Rehabilitation Counseling Association Summer 2009