The Trade Union Congress have found that mental illness remains a barrier for people to getting employed and remaining in employment, because ‘adequate adjustments’ are not being made in the workplace.
For example, only 1 in 4 people with mental illness and phobias are expected to last in a workplace for more than a year, and people with long-term physical conditions are more likely to be employed than those with a ‘hidden’ mental illness.
It is worrying if people with mental illness cannot remain in the workplace. This will reduce their interaction with others making them feel lonelier and, overall, worsen their condition. As studies continue to show, the modern urban lifestyle increases our chances of getting a mental illness, while long-term unemployment increases the likelihood of depression and other forms of mental disorders.
There are some positive news however. The employment rate is steadily increasing for people with mental illness even if the overall numbers of those employed remain low.
Society and the workplace encourage ambitiously driven employees, who must put all their effort into producing the best possible result. This in itself is not a bad philosophy, allowing all people to work to the best of their ability. But for some people, especially those with mental illness, the pressure can become too great and lead them to fail overall.
More workplaces are becoming flexible and allowing their employees greater freedom to improve their working conditions. But more can be done.
This requires both the government, employers and employees to come together to bring about a suitable solution for all stakeholders to receive the best outcome. Of course, stress cannot be avoided, but if employers make some concessions and government policy supports employees’ rights then those with mental illness can remain in the work place.