Aim: Unemployment is the major disability faced by people with psychotic illness. Unemployment rates of 75–95% are found among those with schizophrenia. Unemployment is associated with poorer social and economic inclusion, greater symptomatology, decreased autonomy and generally poorer life functioning. Unemployment also makes up over half of the total costs associated with psychotic illness.
Methods: A meeting was convened in London in June 2008. Invitees to this meeting included people from the USA, Canada and the UK interested in vocational intervention in early psychosis from either a research, clinical, economic or policy point of view. From this meeting a larger group – the International First Episode Vocational Recovery (iFEVR) group – has developed an international consensus statement about vocational recovery in first episode psychosis.
Results: The document is a basic statement of the rights of young people with psychosis to pursue employment, education and training; the evidence which exists to help them do this; and ways in which individuals, organizations and governments can assist the attainment of these ends.
Conclusion: It is hoped that the Meaningful Lives consensus statement will increase the focus on the area of functional recovery and lift it to be seen in parallel with symptomatic recovery in the approach to treating early psychosis.