What Is Vocational Rehabilitation and How Does It Help with Depression?

Question: 

What is vocational rehabilitation? How does it help with depression following a brain injury?

Answer: 

Vocational rehabilitation is an effort and a system to integrate people with disabilities into the workforce or back into the workforce following a significant injury. There’s a state program throughout each state in the United States. And vendors are hired similar to our group in order to provide vocational rehabilitation. In our case we focus on neurological disabilities; traumatic brain injury being approximately a third of everybody we see who comes to our program.

We often have people with a mild to moderate degree of depression in our program. But I think the vocational rehabilitation activity, the planning, the transitioning to some part-time engagement can make a difference. We also have a twice a week job club where they meet with others who are also seeking work and learning job-seeking skills together. That group cohesion is also very beneficial in terms of countering depression. So a combination of individual activity, group activity, and then actual work activity in the community on a graduated basis is all very, very beneficial in terms of countering depression.

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Posted on BrainLine August 7, 2018.

About the author: Robert Fraser, PhD

Robert Fraser, Ph.D., is a professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. He is an active counseling and rehabilitation psychologist, a certified rehabilitation counselor and a certified life care planner. Within neurological rehabilitation, he has specialized in epilepsy, brain injury, and multiple sclerosis.