Mental health in the work place? Taboo? Or truth?

Mental health: it’s just as important to maintain as our physical health. So why is it that we’re still terrified to tick the ‘disability’ box on a job application? 

Would you tell your soon-to-be employer that you suffer from a mental illness that may affect your work? Or would you just hide? Hide behind that mask you’ve been wearing for so many years. 

Yes, to be or not to be? That is, indeed, the question.

I recently told my new employer that I would be absent one day this month to partake in medical research. A research intended for past sufferers of depression. That’s right, I’ve donated myself to science. I’ve become an official human guinea pig. And what for? To pay rent, obviously :/ 

Anyway, long story short; I didn’t think about the stigma, I just spat the words out as if we were talking about how my weekend was. Then there was a spark of tension, as if to say, “oh gosh, I’m sorry to hear that you… Er.. You?”. But to be honest, it felt liberating to say that I had suffered. And I now have a summer job- result!

So why is mental health discriminated in the work place so much?

I can only think of a few reasons why. The first being, ’cause I’m mental’. 

As soon as you mention the D word, I’m avoided like a homeless person begging for sympathy. And that’s exactly it, I don’t want sympathy. I want compassion. I want people to understand it’s nothing out of the ordinary. We’re not psychopaths plotting to fly a plane into the Bermuda Triangle, we’re normal people who have much a right to work as everyone else.

People think that having a mental health condition affects your ability to work. Obviously this is true to a certain degree, but what affects us the most is being discriminated against.

But…

What is the cure for aiding this god-ridden taboo of a subject? Personally, I believe telling people in a way they can understand. Throw in a joke (just so they think we are ‘normal’) and smile like you mean it. Amen. 

Lib Dems: On reforming mental health services for young people

Reforming young people’s mental health services is a crucial mission for us in delivering a fairer society

Liberal Democrat Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb writes about the work he is doing in government to reform mental health care services for children and young people.

“Imagine for a minute you are a teenager, perhaps working hard for your a-level exams, struggling with relationships and all the social and academic pressures of school.  And on top of this, you might be among the 1 in 10 of your peers suffering from depression, an eating disorder, or another mental health problem.

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“But if mental health services are the “Cinderella service” of our NHS, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are the Cinderella Service of Cinderella Services.  Effective support for a young person experiencing a mental health problem can have a transformative effect on the course of their entire life.  But the current CAMHS system too often is woefully inadequate.

“Earlier this year, I launched a CAMHS Task Force involving experts in the field, and also young people who have experience of mental health problems themselves.  The Task Force will look at how we can modernise children’s mental health service, making the best use of the resources available, and reforming services to end the “cliff edge” which occurs when young people move from under-18 care to adult services. It will look at how we can improve access – including through the use of exciting new online services – and how we can reduce the stigma of mental health services.

“The Health Select Committee has just published a new report which reinforces my view that the current service model is failing to give vulnerable young people the support they need.  They highlighted a range of areas where services are sometimes completely unacceptable.

“We are already tackling the unacceptable practice of holding some young people with severe mental ill-health in a police cell as a “place of safety”.  Local services like the NHS and the Police in each part of the country have now been asked to sign up to new standards for mental health crisis treatment.  A key requirement is to end the use of police cells for children with mental health problems.  As Liberal Democrats we can be incredibly proud that we are leading the fight to end this outrageous practice. In every part of the country, we should challenge services which fail to act.

“And the programme to increase access to talking therapies for children and young people, to replace, wherever possible, the practice of using drugs to control young people’s behaviour, has now reached the point where services are covering 60% of the 0-19 population.

“But this is just the start in delivering the improvements needed to CAMHS.  And we have to recognise that, in too many areas, local authorities and clinical commissioning groups have cut funding for children’s mental health services.

“I will be working closely with the Task Force over the coming months as they explore ways of improving the current system.  And I am determined to see their recommendations put into practice so we make sure young people receive the support they need.

“There are few things more distressing to see than a young person whose childhood has been scarred because they didn’t get the support they needed for a mental health condition.  This can go on to impact on the entire course of someone’s life if their education and social development is damaged.  Reforming young people’s mental health services is a crucial mission for us in delivering a fairer society, where everyone has the opportunity to live the life they choose.  And it is happening because of Liberal Democrats in government.”

I feel that young mental health sufferers are less inclined to use any services to begin with, unless we treat the mental health sector as important as physical health services.

What do you think?