Giving people with mental illness a chance
As a mental health advocate and social worker I can attest first hand to the barriers and stigmatization that individuals with mental illness experience.
A major obstacle they face is trying to find suitable employment and accommodation in the workplace. People with serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia face high rates of unemployment.
Barriers such as gaps in work history, limited work experience, discrimination from disclosure, and trying to survive perpetual poverty due to the limited scope and support of disability programs are all major concerns.
Accommodation in the workplace is another concern. Many individuals with mental illness need to start with part-time work, flexible hours, and mental health days. Why? A lack of sleep and stress can trigger a relapse. Medication may take some time to work and require adjustments. The side effects of prescription drugs can be severe. It is important to provide for a flexible work schedule to accommodate these types of concerns.
The political leaders need to create real incentives for employers to give individuals with disabilities a chance in the workplace. Housing, education, income, and work all contribute to self-worth and self-esteem. Not to mention if we can get individuals with mental illness in the workforce then everyone will benefit through their contributions as taxpayers and citizens.
People with mental illness have accomplished a lot throughout history and can go far with the right support and resources.
Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill, Issac Newton, Ludwig Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, and Vincent Van Gogh all lived with mental illness, and left a mark in the lives of future generations.
Let's unleash the untapped potential of all our citizens including individuals with mental illness and watch our civilization flourish.