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Northwestern Medicine Molecular Pathology Technologist Pren Morley seated in lab with a lab coat
Northwestern Medicine Molecular Pathology Technologist Pren Morley seated in lab with a lab coat

Better Support During Your Job Search

Support Services for Work and Educational Opportunities

Searching for a job can be hard, but so can managing a mental health condition like depression or anxiety. How do you manage both at the same time?

Luckily, the Northwestern Medicine Focused Forward (F2) Clinic can help. "The F2 Clinic helps young adult clients with mental health diagnoses work toward their career and educational goals — either by starting, returning to, or thriving in work and school," says Lauren Walker, director of the F2 Clinic.

Program participants can get help seeking employment or education, including:

  • Individual or family therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Peer support services
  • Neuropsychological testing 

Northwestern Medicine Molecular Pathology Technologist Pren Morley joined the program after being unable to find employment after graduating college. "At the end of school, I came out as transgender and started having mental health struggles in addition to not having a plan or job, so my psychiatrist at Northwestern Medicine was aware of that and suggested I join the Focused Forward program," says Morley.

To join, participants must have an established relationship with a prescribing psychiatric care provider or a Northwestern Medicine primary care physician. After you are enrolled in the program, a therapist will talk with you about your mental health care experience and goals. Then, you are paired with a specialist who can work with you to make recommendations to employers or schools on your behalf.

"I was so lost with the job search, and I just needed someone to help me with that. My Focused Forward representative aided me with my resume, gave me tips on applying to jobs and preparing for interviews. It felt good to have someone in my corner because I wasn't job searching alone," says Morley.

The F2 Clinic is unique, says Walker. "Most programs that offer employment and education supports for adults with mental illnesses are situated in community mental health centers, which typically provide services to clients who have already been identified as having a disability," she says. "It is rare for services like this to be linked with a nationally recognized, teaching hospital like Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and even more rare for these services to be provided for individuals who have commercial insurance."

Since getting hired at Northwestern Medicine, Morley has been able to build a supportive network. "The Focused Forward program has an awesome support network filled with great people that are there to help you. I love my job and being able to develop skills that I wasn't able to in college due to the pandemic. I just decided to get my master's while working, and I'm excited that Northwestern Medicine will assist with my tuition."