Study finds that individuals with mental illness encounter more barriers to finding employment than others.

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interview_pictureA new study commissioned by WISE Employment, a nonprofit organization that works with employers and job seekers to obtain meaningful employment, reported that individuals with mental illness experience more barriers to finding employment opportunities than people with physical or intellectual disabilities.


According to Medical News Today, a lack of understanding is cited as the number one reason for not hiring individuals with mental illness; however, employers do not equate having a mental illness as a factor in job performance.

Research shows that 72 percent of small and medium enterprises that employ individuals with mental illness experience positive outcomes with this segment of the population. Furthermore, employers with at least five employees most likely already employ one person with a mental illness. WISE maintains that people with mental illness are capable of doing their jobs well and are often the best person for the position, regardless of his or her disability.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) attributes stigma associated with mental illness as the number one reason for individuals not seeking employment. At least 90 percent of people that seek professional help for their mental illness experience a reduction in their symptoms and achieve a higher quality of life compared to those individuals that do not seek help (NAMI).

Reducing the negative feelings associated with mental illness and increasing public awareness about the disability, encourages job seekers to explore various resources available to them. Additionally, it greatly increases the possibility of securing a job. While stigma can be detrimental to a person living with a mental illness, it can also inhibit his or her willingness to seek treatment.

It is important for employers to educate their staff about mental illness and remind them that mental illness is a medical condition that often results in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. This disorder does not discriminate. A person with mental illness can be a family member, neighbor or coworker.

Working to educate employers about mental illness and reducing the barriers associated with this disorder, will result in a win-win solution for job seekers and employers. On 11/7 at 7PM we will host a "Coping with Stress" webinar to inform people about ways to cope with stress, but also how to recognize mental illness in colleagues, friends, or family members. Register here.

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