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Mental Ill and Workplace Lack of Diversity Literature Review Essay


Being employed is a life experience which everyone wishes they could experience. Being employed allows an individual prospect of belonging, gratitude and allows them to build their self worth. People who have low self esteem believe that they are less fortunate in obtain employment then others.

There are many obstacles that the mentally ill experience when trying to again employment. After conducting this research I have located sources that will reflect on the mentally ill. There were several issues that affect the mentally ill from gain employment such as education, support system, employer’s lack of knowledge of this population, discrimination, stigma, stress while being employed and dealing with multiple problem that occur at one time..The reason for this review is to focus on issues that would occur in prevent the mentally ill from maintain employment and for the individual to be more diverse while working alongside or with this population. Research was conducted on this topic and will be reflected in this review.


Having a source of income is important in someone life by having employment it allows them to be independent and also help them to obtain goods that better value their living. In September 2012 employment rate in United States rose by 418,000 to 155.1 and there were 802,000 discouraged workers in September, a decline of 235,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them (United States Department of Labor, 2012). This research shows how it is hard for someone who does not have a mental illness to obtain employment. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports mentally ill is at the bottom of the employment poll which was reported from the National Health Interview Survey ( 2012, Loveland, Driscoll, & Boyle, 2007). Being in the workforce allow you to take care of your personal needs. It allows you to earn money and be active in society.

In life this is how people determine who they are and what they want to be. The mentally ill are so afraid of revealing which they are that this might prevent them from obtaining employment. Emotion or feelings are difficult to evaluate because they often remain hidden (Bucher, 2008). Mentally ill are afraid to tell their employer or co worker that they suffer from mental illness because of fear of being terminated because of discrimination. .Carr-Ruffino(2005) defines discrimination as actions or practices that results in members of a less powerful group being differently in ways that disadvantage them. For example john told his employer he was taking medication for his mental illness. His employer response is that we don’t need people here like that. The employer was not being cultural diverse which would cause him to be sued. Diversity means being aware of your own and someone else’s cultural belief, religion, race, sexual orientation. (2012) defines cultural competence as the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds. Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability (NASW, 2008). Individual who have mental illness already are being stereotype in the world and now being stereotype while looking or having employment is not diverse. By being aware of someone else we can better service ourselves and them. Wikipedia (2012) defines social stigma is the extreme disapproval of, or discontent with, a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society. Stigma may attach to a person, who differs from social or cultural norms.

Vogel & Haake, (2006) states stigma associated with seeking mental health services, therefore, is the perception that a person who seeks psychological treatment is undesirable or socially unacceptable. Wikipedia (2012) defines job as a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. A person usually begins a job by becoming an employee, volunteering, or starting a business. Employment improves self-esteem, satisfaction with finances, and has been associated with reduction of hospitalization rates and psychiatric symptoms (Johannesen, McGrew, Griss, & Born, 2007). “Research suggests that work improves self-esteem and well-being” (Gannon & Gregory, 2007). The mentally ill utilize work as belonging to something and a step to return to society without being stereotype. History has shown that the mental ill and employment has not been a major focus. In society we view the mental ill as the led fortunate and society expectation is that they would not work. Sociostructural barriers and disincentives have also made it difficult for people with a mental disorder to get in and stay in the competitive workforce (Marrone JF, Follwy S, Selleck V., 2005).

Individual with a mental illness has right to do anything that an average individual does in the workplace or in their personal life. In order for them to do this they would need a support system which would include job coach, counseling, therapy and housing. World Health Organization (2012) states, governments need to dedicate more of their health budget to mental health. In addition the mental health workforce needs to be developed and trained to ensure that all people have access to good quality mental health services at each level of the health care system. People who suffer from mental health issue are capable of working however the unemployment rate continues to rise. Trading Economic (2012) reports from 1948 until 2012, the United States Unemployment Rate averaged 5.8 Percent reaching an all time high of 10.8 Percent in November of 1982 and a record low of 2.5 Percent in May of 1953.

The unemployment rate can be defined as the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labor force. Unemployment rates for people with serious and persistent psychiatric disabilities are the highest, typically 80-90%. (Crowther & Marchall, 2001). Employment among those with severe mental illness is much lower at eight percent (Gannon & Gregory, 2007). As a result, people with serious mental disabilities constitute one of the largest groups of social security recipients (Sanderson & Andrews, 2006).

Individuals who suffer from mental illness and do not have a job will always be judged because of their illness and them not being employed. By the employer not being culturally diverse this stops the mentally ill from being employed and causes the employer to hire someone with out mental health issues. 2012) reports that Kessler Foundation and The National Organization on Disability found that little progress has been made in closing the employment gap between people with and without disabilities since the passage of the ADA into law.

Reports have shown that many mental ill individual are employed a dead end job which does not have any advancement. Current reports from Kessler Foundation/NOD (2010) reports majority of employers, according to a 2010 survey, include flexible work schedules, telecommuting, and ergonomic redesign of workstations. This behavior is following The American Disability Act which states accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities (, 2012).

Individual with mental illness are working alongside individual who are not diverse. They might be judged by their co workers after returning from treatment which causes the co worker to be biases. Most jobs that the mental ill obtain will end unsuccessful. A greater effort must be made to provide support networks for employees within their work environments (Nelson & Kim, 2012). Individual sometime keep their mental illness as a secret to avoid bad treatment at work which causes them not to use the employee benefits that are given. In order for the workplace to be diverse the employer must force diversity in the work place by having training for their staff. We make diversity work when were willing to imagine people from different backgrounds views the world and how theses people are view by others around them Carr-Ruffino (2005).


By being more knowledge of the mentally ill we can avoid being biases. We can avoid decimations and stigma in the workplace and in ourselves. Mentally ill should not have a reason to experience workplace inequity and direct prejudice due to past shortcoming because they are disabled. In order for the mental ill to keep employment they would need to have a treatment plan in place. Research has shown that there are still areas in dealing with the mental ill in the workplace but we as society also must be diverse.

Bucher, R. D. (2008). Building cultural intelligence (CQ): Nine megaskills. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN: 9780131738959. Carr-Ruffino, N. (2005). Making diversity work. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN: 9780130485120 Crowther RE, Marchall M, Bond GR,
et al.(2001). Helping people with severe mental illness to obtain work: systematic review. Retrieve from:

Drake, R.E., Becker, D.R., Biesanz, JDavid L. Vogel, Nathaniel G. Wade, and Shawn Haake (2006) Measuring the Self-Stigma Associated With Seeking Psychological Help. Retrieved from: Gannon & Gregory (2007) Barriers to improving work opportunities for people with severe mental illness. Retrieved from: Johannesen, McGrew, Griss, & Born (2007). Vocational Rehabilitation for People with Psychiatric. Retrieved from: Kessler Foundation/NOD (2010). Survey of Employment of Americans with Disabilities. Retrieved from: Loveland D, Driscoll H, Boyle M. 2007. Enhancing supported employment services for individuals with a serious mental illness: A review of the literature. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 27(3):177-189. Marrone JF, Follwy S, Selleck V. (2005) How mental health and welfare to work interact: the role of hope, sanctions, engagement, and support. Retrieved from: National Association of Social Workers (2008). NASW code of ethics. Retrieved from: Nelson RE, Kim J. (2011).The impact of mental illness on the risk of employment termination. Retrieved from: Sanderson K, Andrews G. (2006) Common mental disorders in the workforce: recent findings from descriptive and social epidemiology. Retrieve from: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission( 2012) American Disability Act. Retrieved form: The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (2012), National Health Interview Survey. Retrieve from: Trading Economic (2012) Employment Rates. United

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