Be accepting of those who are not like the norm

Beyond the difficulties people with mental illness have in getting employment, I wonder if they also face pressure from the social environment (People with mental illness deserve a shot at work; Oct 7).

There are different forms and severities of mental illnesses. Are we adding to the woes of the borderline cases in our midst?

These people may function well and have self-insight, but are a bit different from the norm or the general corporate expectation.

Are they ostracised or stigmatised because of this? Is the workplace hostile to them?

For example, are superiors or colleagues putting unnecessary pressure on staff who are introverted or quiet to smile or laugh? How about the colleague who shuns the annual dinner and dance or who cannot make a fool of himself in team-building exercises?

Are these people marked as "uncooperative" or "not team players"?

We should be more accepting of individuals with quirks. We do not know if they are suffering from mental illness.

At work or in the community, as long as someone is able to contribute, has some talents or does no harm to himself or others, he should be embraced as a fellow member of the community.

Lim Teck Koon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2017, with the headline 'Be accepting of those who are not like the norm'. Print Edition | Subscribe