As we move forward into 2013 we have seen an increase in awareness of mental health illnesses. How as a society we address the situation and review our own attitudes towards not just the person but also the illness itself.
What is Mental illness?
This medical condition is not a sign of weakness, it is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning covering a range of illnesses from Anxiety to Schizophrenia. Treatments can be in the form of verbal therapy, medication, keeping active; exercising, joining clubs, going for walks. Others find an outlet by writing a blog.
Mental Illness and employment
1 in 6 adults can have a mental health illness. Many of whom with the right medication, lifestyle and environment changes can lead a relatively normal life. This includes having a job, yet still over 50% of employees are reluctant to share this information with their employers.
For some a working environment can provide them with the structure they need to help them control their illness. With the positives come the negatives, a stressful environment can trigger anxiety, panic attacks or depression causing an employee to take a leave of absence for an indefinite amount of time. How would an employer cope with having an otherwise productive member of staff away on sick leave?
There have been instances where employers have not fully understood their employee’s condition and resorted to disciplinary measures that can further aggravate the situation. Hence the importance of both employers and employees working together to overcome the obstacles created through lack of knowledge and the stigmatisation and of having a mental health illness.
Many people with a form of mental illness are able to lead a normal active life;their illness is just one part of them.
Employers are recognising that once they look beyond the mental illness there is a person who would be an asset to their business. There are resources available for employers to educate themselves and provide the necessary encouragement and support to ease the transition back into employment without having a negative effect on their business. The Mindful Employer scheme launched in 2004, aims to provide employers with easier access to information and support for employees with mental health conditions.
The learning doesn’t stop when a person with a mental illness joins a company;it is an on-going learning curve for the employee, the employer and their colleagues.
You can also view this article on www.jobserve.com.