An exploration of professional careers and living with a mental illness

Gillian Halliday, John Coveney, Julie Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


People living with a mental illness encompass a range of educational achievements and occupational roles; however, research examining the topic of career and professional occupation is sparse. This qualitative study used in-depth interviews with six participants to explore the career experiences of people diagnosed with a mental illness who work in a professional occupation. The study was framed within a narrative methodology and theoretical concepts from an occupational science perspective. Analysis of life circumstances, social contexts and the presence of an engaging occupation highlighted key influences on the construction of a professional career. A major finding of this study was that career and work were highly valued and determinedly pursued: this related to working in roles that people enjoyed, valued, felt valued in undertaking and in which they were able to further develop their skills and/or qualifications. Understanding the meaning of career for people living with a mental illness may offer important insight on their occupational needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-458
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Occupational Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2015


  • Career
  • Lived experience
  • Mental illness
  • Narrative inquiry
  • Professional occupation


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