Mental Health & Employment: What's the Issue?

Mind 14

Mental health blog by Lily Grouse about why people rarely talk to her about mental health but are very open about their physical health. Lily is a Specialist Healthcare Consultant for the Venn Group, an employment agency dedicated to temporary and interim employment.

As one of Venn Group’s specialist Healthcare Consultants, I spend most of my time talking to people about their working lives. My colleagues and I are perfectly placed to be able to ensure that our candidates are happy in their roles and, if they’re not, it’s our duty to work towards a resolution.

Strangely, despite the fact that “1 in 4 people experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year” (Mental Health Foundation) I very rarely speak to people who openly talk about an experience of this nature.

Comparing this void with the numerous occasions on which I’m told about physical ailments, like colds or stomach bugs, draws attention to how differently we perceive and deal with issues surrounding mental illness. It begs the question: Why are we less inclined to disclose information of this nature?

The reasons for this are inherently connected to a social perception of the “mentally ill” as weak or unstable.

Unwillingness to discuss personal experiences of mental health problems can be attributed to the fear of being branded with these labels; nobody wants to seem weak and the idea of being deemed so, is embarrassing.

What happens when you attach this stigma to a physical affliction? Imagine if someone were to suffer an isolated incident and injure their leg. On recognising that they’re in pain, they decide not to tell anybody for fear of being perceived as fragile. Instead, they continue to walk on the affected limb without seeking medical help, in line with the belief that they should be able to simply ‘get over it’.

We all know that this is an irresponsible way to deal with a physical injury and the fact that this kind of action could to lead to long term damage comes as no surprise – it’s widely accepted that physical health needs to be attended to. Mental health requires just as much attention and, although huge advancements in public perception have been made in recent years, there’s still a long way to go in terms of action and funding....

You can also read the second part of this blog.

*Image by Time to Change 'Get the Picture' Campaign

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