‘Locked door’ approach to mental health from employers

A survey carried out by Rethink Mental Illness has found there’s still prejudice/discrimination when it comes to employers hiring people with mental health issues.

According to the charity, the figures show:

  • 68% of employers hiring someone with severe mental health issues worry they won’t fit into the team
  • 83% of employers would worry someone with a severe mental illness couldn’t deal with the pressures of the job
  • 54% of employers surveyed wouldn’t know how to support someone with schizophrenia

The one that really made for eye-opening reading was:

“Only 43% of all people with mental health problems are in employment, compared to 74% of the general population.” – Rethink Mental Illness survey 2017

How can society do this to people who have illnesses they can’t help? Would they do the same to someone with a broken leg? The problem is, many employers aren’t sure how to deal with people who suffer mentally. Do you treat us differently? Do you treat us the same but keep an extra eye out?

Recently a lady in the US tweeted about how she needed to take a ‘mental health day off’ and what her boss’ reaction was. Read the article here. It went viral because he responded in such an accepting way and thanked her for reminding everyone of the importance of mental health sick days.

Email resposne

(Courtesy of metro.co.uk)

 

Programmes like Time to Change (of which I’m a Champion – Read my story) are helping to end this stigma and also helping organisations to understand what to do when someone needs help. Years ago, I faced discrimination and not great treatment after I was diagnosed with depression. I was made to feel bad about myself, the work I was doing and the fact I didn’t wear make-up to work to ‘make myself more presentable’.

All of the above is why I got involved and became a Champion. I’m proud of how far I’ve come in my career despite my mental health not always being up to scratch. Being accepted by colleagues and in fact, respected, really helps. I was thanked by someone who’d been having mental health issues for reassuring her that there’s no shame in talking about it. Because there isn’t.

For those who won’t hire someone with a mental health issue, thank you. You make us realise how awesome and how much potential we have. It might knock us down initially but when we find the right organisation, it builds us up bigger and better than before.

If this has happened to you, keep going. You can beat this and find the right job for you.

Stay positive 🙂

Social is helping us talk mental health

“Now that I’ve created my new blog, what do I talk about? How do I narrow it down?”

These were the thoughts I had before a Google Alert popped into my inbox and made the choice easier. It actually highlights exactly why I started this blog in fact. Fate or what?

After reading this piece by I:D US about how social media is changing the way we talk about mental health, I realised that’s what me and so many others are doing. We’re all finding ways of coping with our mental health by using or doing whatever is accessible to us. And social media for so many works.

“77% said of young people say it’s easier to find personal stories and advice online than in-person.” – ID:US

It’s really incredible that so many of us who worry about starting these blogs in the first place, do so anyway. Mental strength prevails. We worry in case anyone judges us, doesn’t like what we’re saying, or even worse, doesn’t bother reading it. There’s been a lot to say that social media has had a negative effect on people too. Making people less sociable (the irony), low self esteem and confidence if no one likes or comments on their photos, are a few examples.

(The anxious part of my brain is worrying now that what I’m saying won’t make sense… And so the fight continues)

The key stats I picked out from the ID:US piece (featuring a survey carried out by the Born This Way Foundation) were:

  • 84% of people said social media let them speak to people who were facing similar challenges
  • 70% of those asked said they used the internet to message professionals who could offer support
  • Creating friendships and a support network online is really important

So, what we learn from this?

Making connections is really important. Whether you do it in person or via the internet. The purpose of so many mental health blogs written by those experiencing it are to help raise awareness. It’s also to let those who are suffering know they’re not alone. If my blog can encourage someone to reach out, find out more information or make a new friend, I’m happy about that.

Stay positive 🙂