Sherman outreach center helps mentally ill become employed

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SHERMAN, TEXAS -- Counselor Lindsay Ballinger with Four Rivers Outreach is helping people with mental health issues learn workplace etiquette to ultimately land them a job.

"What is email acceptable? What is phone skills acceptable? How do I talk to my boss?" Ballinger said.

She currently sees a dozen clients through this new employment program.

She and a client will sit down, talk about his or her background and then work on developing job skills.

"Once they're employed, they continue to work with me on a weekly basis so we can work out any issues that they have," Ballinger said.

"This is the first mental illness focus program we have," Four Rivers Outreach Director Arthur Horn said.

Horn says most of their clients have mental health problems and statistics show that working can help some improve their health.

"We also have in our facility a career center that helps them find work," Horn said.

The career center teaches participants lessons like how to write a resume or how to prepare themselves for job interviews.

"Get better jobs, better paying jobs, go to work and become self-sufficient," Horn said.

Ballinger says, so far, they're already seeing success with the new program.

"The ones that we have placed in employment have been in that employment and have not had to leave their job or switch jobs," Ballinger said.

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