Stigma of mental health makes finding work in recession more difficult

A shocking 92 per cent of the British public believes that admitting to having a mental illness would damage someone's career according to the anti-stigma campaigning body"Time to Change". The results were taken from a YouGov poll commissioned by the charity.

The three careers most damaged were doctors (56 per cent), emergency services (54 per cent) and teachers (48 per cent). However, only 21 per cent of respondents thought that it would be damaging to the career of an MP, despite it being illegal for someone to work as an MP with a history of mental illness.

The survey also found that as mental illness rises during the recession people may find it more difficult to get jobs if they admitted their mental illness in a job interview.

The study asked more than 2000 people around the UK to imagine that they were interviewing someone for a job, and the interviewee admitted that from time to time they suffered from depression. Despite the respondents considering this person the best candidate for the job, more than half [56 per cent) would not employ them because of their mental illness.

The survey found that of these respondents nearly one in five (17 per cent) would not offer the 'best candidate' the job because they considered that mental illness would make them unreliable, while 10 per cent would worry that if the employee took time off sick, they'd get the blame for employing them. A further 15 per cent worried that they wouldn't work as well as other employees, or that other employees would react negatively towards them, undermining team morale.

Reponses from the survey were also broken down by professions, such as health workers, lawyers and banking. It found that bank workers were the most likely to discriminate against someone with a mental illness. Almost half of respondents (46 per cent) working in this sector were either reluctant to employ someone with a mental illness because they'd be unreliable or worried that they'd get the blame for employing them if they went off sick. This is worrying for members of the banking industry, a sector hit by the recession, when they attempt to get new jobs.

Andy Harley, 37, worked for six years as a business analyst for a bank, until he developed depression and gave up work for a year to get better. He undertook 150 interviews before he could get another job. He said:

My experience of getting a job in the banking sector following my depression backs up the findings of this survey. I admitted to depression on application forms and didn't get interviews despite my experience. My mental illness set off alarms bells. My depression was a major concern in the interviews that I did get, with the interviewers worrying that I wouldn't be reliable or able to cope with stress.

The discrimination in the banking sector is outdated. They saw my illness not me. I'm not foremost a person with a mental illness. They didn't take into account my own personal circumstances, or the fact that I had worked well for six years in a high-pressured environment. Anyone can get ill at any time. I was eventually forced to seek work in another sector entirely


Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said:

The issue of mental health in the workplace is never more important than in time of recession.  We need to be able to have a discussion about mental health problems in the workplace, and to put an end to discriminatory attitudes that prevent capable people from working.

Article sourced from Mind

posted by

Asif Yusuf



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