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Supported Employment for People with Mental Health Conditions

April 9, 2024 3:17 pm

Within any workplace environment, it’s important for all individuals to feel safe and included. Concerning those with mental health conditions, companies should always strive to provide supported employment without stigmatization.

Addressing Mental Health Stigma in the Workplace

People who face mental health disabilities and disorders often face misconceptions and stigmas about their condition in the workplace. One misconception is the idea that individuals with mental health conditions cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.

In reality, people facing mental health disabilities or disorders can be as productive as their fellow employees. This stigma negatively impacts individuals as it continues to perpetuate toxic stereotypes that can keep people from getting the job they want or the help they need.

Employers and coworkers share the responsibility of creating more inclusive workplaces for all individuals, especially those with mental health conditions. The first step is to educate yourself and others on mental health disorders and disabilities to help minimize the stigmas around mental health. From there, employers can offer mental health training, flexible scheduling, and employee resources to cultivate an inclusive work culture where everyone feels supported.

Accommodations and Workplace Support within the Americans with Disabilities Act

In the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), federal laws prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities within employment procedures. This includes job application processes, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and privileges of employment. Disability discrimination can occur at any moment an employer treats an applicant or employee negatively based on their disabilities. The ADA applies to those with mental health conditions such as psychiatric disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and mental health illnesses that “substantially limit one or more major life activities.”

Employees with mental health conditions need to ask for accommodations from their employers. During this process, employees should decide what kind of accommodations they need based on ways their disability could impact their jobs, and what resources would be needed to do their jobs correctly.

How To Choose Empowering Career Paths

When applying for jobs, individuals with mental health conditions need to find work environments that fit their mental health needs.

During your job research, determine your true values and whether companies match those values. Review each job description and explore the stresses, demands, scheduling, PTO, health services, and opportunities each company offers. Individuals with mental health conditions typically succeed in work conditions where there is a low-stress, relaxed environment, flexible schedule, supportive services, appreciation, and ways to be creative.

Jobs that allow employees to work independently like writers, accountants, or even computer programmers can be a good fit for those with mental health conditions. However, each person is different in their needs when it comes to employment.

To find a job catered to your needs, look at each company’s organizational structure, network within the company to discover the work environment, and interview the interviewee (hiring manager or person interviewing you) to discover the company culture and its future.

Building a Supportive Network

It’s vital for your well-being to speak up about your mental health. You can connect with others who have similar experiences to you through local or online support groups. Look through your local Mental Health America affiliate to find support groups that are in your area. In these different support groups, you can gain valuable insights and resources on how to manage your condition and get better. Remember that you are not alone. In the workplace and beyond, you should always be advocating for yourself and others to create a more inclusive environment.

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