Let’s get this straight: No one wants to be diagnosed with a mental health issues. Living with a mental disorder everyday is already difficult in itself, and being stripped off the opportunity to work does not make it any easier. As employers, keeping a discriminatory workspace isn’t only inhumane, but it’s also a step backwards in a progressing society. We’ve collated some important things that employers should keep in mind when faced with applicants with mental disorders.
Don’t generalize mental illness.
Mental illnesses are complex. This is precisely why it’s so difficult for society to understand patients–more so, accept them. However, just because one isn’t too familiar with the complexities of mental illness doesn’t mean he has every right to be derogatory.
In the working environment, keeping a closed door does not at all pave way for healthy conversation about mental health. Generalizing patients do not help the situation nor the corporation. Someone who’s exclusively depressed shouldn’t be boxed in the same category as someone who risks customer safety. It simply does not work that way. At the same time, the company may lose potential innovative and key employees by implementing such resolute rules.
The business industry not having the right “safety and security” measures does not justify stripping them off of opportunities. If anyone’s to take the blame, it should be employers. They are the ones with the power to deconstruct discrimination in the work environment, not the other way around.
First step is to assess the situation. Remember, mental illnesses come in diverse cases and extremities.
It’s completely okay to hire people with mental health issues because this doesn’t compromise their potential. If somebody perfectly fits a job’s tasks and demand, acknowledge this. While it’s your job to keep a healthy environment in the workplace, just about anybody can pose potential threat. First step is to assess the situation. Remember, mental illnesses come in diverse cases and extremities.
Mental illness does not define a person.
Mental illness does not define a person. It’s something they live with and instead of hiding it, they were brave enough to step out of their comfort zone. Not hiring someone solely for the fact that they have a mental disorder is not just selfish, but lazy and ignorant. This is but another type of stereotyping. It’s like a deal-breaker without basis, except we’re not in high school.
It’s completely okay to hire people with mental health issues because it’s not their fault they have these. Many experiences in life may contribute to one’s mental health. Patients might have dealt with trauma, or may have been victims of abuse.
Closing the door on them is another kind of victim blaming.
Closing the door on them is another kind of victim blaming. It’s as if they are held accountable for a burden they never wanted have in the first place. For some obscure and ridiculous reason, some judgmental employers would dare put further burden on top of that, instead of educating themselves and sorting out the measures.
Mental health patients are committed.
In the workplace, some of the greatest chefs, writers, and artists have mental illness. Take Anthony Bourdain, Abraham Lincoln, and Carrie Fisher for example. It’s undeniable how these people innovated their respective fields. They didn’t just work, but they excelled.
In smaller cases, giving mental health patients the opportunity to prove themselves is but right. Because of the unhealthy stigma on mental illness, once they are treated the same as others, they acknowledge this. They give their best in everything, since employers see strengths beneath the illness. The simple act of encouragement goes a long, long way.
Moreover, some patients use their craft and creativity to soothe them. The business of work is an outlet in itself. Every accomplishment gives them purpose and direction–something straight-edged corporate workers never acknowledge. Mental health patients can be completely functional, creative, and motivated in the work environment. As long as they do their job and not harm others, companies have no right to meddle with personal lives.
It’s a step towards acceptance.
Perhaps it’s true that the stigma about mental health needs to be changed. However, big corporations have the power to start this change. While we’re not banking on that from money-minded machines, they should stop contributing to the toxic perceptions being fed to society.
It is redefining the majority’s expectations and stereotypes.
Hiring people with mental illness is a step towards acceptance. It is redefining the majority’s expectations and stereotypes. In a time where many advocates walk the streets and even the Philippines passing the Mental Health Law, it’s quite disappointing to see such discriminatory remarks.
Imagine having a brother, sister, or friend who has the worst lucks in getting hired, simply because they are mental health patients. While you know they’re completely smart and good workers, it’s disheartening to see them under such bad light. Big companies have an enormous social responsibility, which doesn’t simply fade from laziness to learn more about mental health.
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