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Mental Illness: a barrier to employment

RESEACH shows that employers avoid hiring people with a mental ill because of a lack of understanding about mental health issues.

The WISE Employment commissioned study reveals that mental illness is a bigger barrier to employment than a physical disability, with only 1 in 3 Australians saying they would consider employing someone who has a mental illness.

WISE Employment Strategy and Alliance General Manager Matthew Lambelle said there was a distinct lack of understanding about mental health issues, which fueled stigma and caused some employers to shy away from hiring people with mental illness.

“The research reveals an underlying assumption among employers that mental illness will inhibit job performance, when in fact the two are not linked,” Mr Lambelle said.

Half of the study’s respondents believed people with a mental illness could be unreliable and disruptive in the workplace.

However, 74% of people who’d employed someone with a mental illness described the experience as positive or very positive.

“A person with a mental illness can be the best person for the job,” Mr Lambelle said.

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