Offering jobs to mentally ill people helps in recovery

Work plays an important role in helping persons with mental health conditions.
Work plays an important role in helping persons with mental health conditions.PHOTO: ST FILE

Those with mental illness often face challenges in the community and work environment, as revealed by recovering patients (I have mental illness, will you hire me?, May 5).

People who are willing to seek treatment for their conditions must be given equal opportunities to secure jobs, if we are to strive to become an inclusive society.

Work plays an important role in helping persons with mental health conditions.

It has a positive influence on their recovery, well-being, self-esteem, social connectedness and identity.

Unfortunately, the reality is that many employers are reluctant to hire people with mental health issues for fear of them being unable to handle stress, being absent from work, showing erratic behaviour or having relationship issues with co-workers.

However, hiring people with mental illness could actually be beneficial to the employer. If jobs are made available for persons with mental health issues who are willing to seek treatment, they often become exceptionally committed and work doubly hard because they fully understand that jobs are not easy to come by for them.

With the unions drawing up skills upgrading programmes and redesigning jobs, it is timely for the civil service to offer more jobs to recovering patients with mental illness, as it is an effective way to help de-stigmatise mental illness.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2019, with the headline 'Offering jobs to mentally ill people helps in recovery'. Print Edition | Subscribe