Mental Health problems & Employment

  user8 13:34 09 Jun 2009

I have a friend who apart from having had depression is looking for employment, but as soon as their illness is discussed (they dont hind the fact) employers seem not to want to employ them.

It's such a shame as they would i'm sure be a valued member of a team if only given the chance.

  newman35 14:11 09 Jun 2009

"I have a friend soon as their...they dont ....not to want to employ them....shame as they would i'm sure be a valued member " ??

How many are we talking about? (I wouldn't dream of asking if a 'split-personality' was involved!).

But, seriously, mental illness has a stigma because the term covers such a wide variety of levels, from mild depression to dangerously unstable. One can only hope eventually an employer can be found who does understand the particular case.

  JanetO 14:33 09 Jun 2009

Personally I wouldn't mention this to a potential employer unless they were in the mental health field themselves. Most employers are uneducated and unsympathetic regarding mental illnesses.

We employed people with mental health problems at a day centre I once worked at for people with mental health illnesses and they were a valued part of our staff team.

One member of staff used to suffer severe depression and as part of their treatment took Lythium for medication. This was very successful. There are many treatments for this type of illness, but amongst the most successful are the talking therapies.

  Chris the Ancient 14:47 09 Jun 2009

A while back, I used to train people, who were returning to work, in basic IT skills. Quite a few had mental health problems.

It was amazing how many actually overcame most of their problems through this scheme - and some went on to gain meaningful jobs.

I'm not in the situation where I actually employ people any more; but if I were, there would be no stigma in their past condition for me. If they could do the job, they would be in. And, being prone to uni-polar depression myself, they would have my sympathy and understanding. If there were to be a recurrence, and a glimmer of hope that I could do something to help, I would.

I don't think anyone could be completely 'normal' and 'even' at all times; everybody has good days and bad days. It is how that person can cope and manage that is the important thing. More often that not, simple understanding is the best help that can be offered (and a decent job).

  wee eddie 14:59 09 Jun 2009

I can relate to those that are cagey about employing those with Mental and Physical Health problems.

In the 25 years that I ran my business, I employed a number of people with disabilities. My main problem, as a small business, was that employment through the week was a make-up for their wages so that we could have experienced Team of Staff working at the Weekend. All the disabled people we employed were unable to cut the mustard at the Weekend and we were unable to afford to employ, able or disabled, people to work on weekdays only.

  Brumas 15:08 09 Jun 2009

My 29 year old son has had mental health problems for quite some years and has only just recently been finally diagnosed as suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Last September it became all too much for him and he just couldn’t cope with everyday life on his own in Preston so we brought him home in order for us to ‘stabilise’ him, look after him, feed him up and generally do all that we could to help him through it.

Well, touch wood some 8 months later we have taken him back to his flat in Preston and he seems to be coping again. All this time his job was kept open for him, he is a 2nd Line Wireless Technician working for TalkTalk Broadband - they really have done everything within their power to help my Son (occupational health therapy,reduced working hours etc) and I can only praise them - I do not know if all employers are like this, but they should be?

  Forum Editor 15:31 09 Jun 2009

has a mental health problem of some kind at some point in life, and depression is the most common kind. The word 'depression' is used to describe a wide range of illnesses from a mild bout of the blues to a full-blown clinical depression. My wife works with depressive illnesses day in and day out, and she says that lots of people who say they are depressed don't really have a clue what real depression is all about.

It will be that way with employers - they'll tend to associate the word with someone who is suicidal at worst and a miserable grump at best, they'll worry about it particularly in a team context.

  laurie53 15:34 09 Jun 2009

Mental illness is recognized as a disability and if you can prove discrimination, by no means easy, the employer can be prosecuted.

  kidsis 16:40 09 Jun 2009

I have had problems with physical health for a few years, and am looking for work. If I actually get an application form sent and it asks about health problems my heart sinks. It is illegal to lie about health problems and if one gets a job and then they find out, they can sack the person, but I know 100% if I tell the truth that will be the end of it. I was actually told at the Job Centre not to mention my health problems. When I explained that that would be illegal I was told: "Well if they don't ask don't mention it". I asked for this in writing on Job Centre headed notepaper - guess what, he said no. Also many application forms make it plain they will contact your doctor for your medical history. If someone is actually in a job and becomes ill that is one thing, but to get a job with a record of ill health is not easy - some may be lucky, but not all. Secondly a former colleague had a breakdown and when she returned I was shocked at how some people treated her. Every thing she did or said was gossiped about. I tried having a word with her boss, but he didn't want to know. Life is not easy.

  Input Overload 18:54 09 Jun 2009

Often mentally ill persons are often above the average in intelligence, most great inventions etc were made by people who were as the least eccentric.

  oresome 21:08 09 Jun 2009

Let's face it, business is about making money.

You employ the people who are most likely to attend 100% of the time and give management the least problems. If as a business you're less efficient than a competitor, you'll eventually fail.

The smaller the business, the more critical the absence of one employee is and I'd have thought the less likely they are to take someone on with any issues that might affect their attendance or create problems with other staff, real or imagined, legal issues not withstanding.

The Civil Service will certainly stick to a non-discriminatory assessment for employment and be one to consider if they offer employment in the area.

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