asking about mental health in an interview

A reader writes:

I’ve just been put in charge of hiring a group of staff for a summer camp.I began managing this group of staff last May (and was thus not involved in the hiring process) and discovered that a couple staff members had some mental health issues that interfered with their job responsibilities. Two of the most extreme examples involved one worker with an eating disorder and cutting; another had PTSD. This really impacted their ability to be good counselors — the first as a role model to impressionable junior highers; the second was afraid of the dark and would have serious flashbacks, making overnight campouts impossible.

Now that I’m playing a more significant role in hiring, I’d like to know what I can do in the interview process to find out about these sorts of things. While both of these girls underwent extensive reference checks, this isn’t the kind of thing that regular employers would find out about. Is it prudent for me to ask direct questions about a potential counselor’s current mental health? I want to hire emotionally stable people, but I’m worried about being discriminatory.

Oooh, this is tricky. The law doesn’t allow you to inquire into someone’s medical health, but you can ask whether they can perform specific duties.

I asked employment lawyer Donna Ballman (whose book, Stand Up For Yourself Without Getting Firedis a great guide to your rights at work and well worth ordering) if she’d weigh in on the best way for you to proceed. Here’s her advice:

“Pre-employment, the employer may not ask questions that will disclose the existence of a disability. What they can ask are questions about their ability to perform specific tasks. For instance, it’s a legitimate question to ask what they would tell a camper who became fearful on an overnight camping trip, what their favorite things to do on a campout are, and what activities they like to do with the kids. They could be asked what experience they have helping kids work through problems, what they’d do if they encountered a camper who clearly had an eating disorder, or why they are the best person to supervise children.

The appropriate thing to do when in doubt is make a conditional offer of employment. After the conditional offer is made, the employer may do some things that may help under these circumstances, as long as they are done for all employees who get the conditional offer. They could do a physical agility test requiring them to demonstrate their ability to perform certain skills, as an example. They could require the individuals to demonstrate skills such as the ability to start a campfire in the dark, how to make s’mores, or other basic camping skills. If the post-employment inquiry discloses the existence of a disability, the employer can now ask how the applicant will be able to perform the essential duties of their job and what accommodations the employer may need to provide.

The main thing I’d caution is to not make assumptions about someone’s abilities just because they have a disability. For instance, the employee who had an eating disorder might well be able to recognize a camper with the beginnings of one and help get them through their problem or know when to call in a professional for help. The employee who was afraid of the dark might be able to help campers through their fears. If it is clear the applicant will not be able to perform the essential functions of their job, even with accommodations, then the offer may be withdrawn.”

This is excellent advice.

This is also probably a situation where “tell me about a time when…” interview questions will be especially important. For instance, ask about past overnight camping trips (and what has made them most anxious during those times, and how they handled that), about experience identifying and helping struggling peers, about their own experience in overcoming challenges (of any type), about how they’d model healthy eating habits for campers, and about any other behaviors and traits you want to make sure they demonstrate. This should actually help you make better hires across the board, and not just in the sorts of cases that you’re asking about here.

What other advice do people have?

{ 55 comments… read them below }

  1. fposte

    Yeah, as Donna suggests, there’s a big difference between screening for mental illness and screening for possible difficulty in doing the job. You might also talk about the challenging combination of needing to be a healthy role model while the counselors themselves are away from their usual patterns and supports (even if it’s a day camp, it’s a whole different world) and ask them about any experiences they’ve had that might shed light on their ability to thrive in such situations. (If you’re in touch with counselors that you thought particularly good at that, you might prep by asking them what they think helps them be that way and they suggest you might look for in future hires.)

    I’m also trying to figure out what happened with the hiring of the afraid-of-the-dark counselor. Did she not realize her problem included that, or hope that somebody else could handle that for her? If it’s the latter, are you clear enough on the basic tasks that you expect everybody to be able to handle on their own?

    1. OP

      She hadn’t been diagnosed with PTSD at the time of her hiring, and I don’t think she realized herself how serious her condition was. She was able to control her symptoms really well at home (nightlight, familiar environment, listening to music, etc) but it became a lot more difficult for her at camp. It really worked out to be a growing experience for her – realizing that what others considered to be “normal” was hard for her motivated her to get professional help – but it was hard from a managerial perspective.

      1. fposte

        Yes, that would have been to be a hard thing to screen for. That’s why there might be something to be said for selecting for a track record of sturdiness in different situations rather than trying to screen out fault lines that might not have displayed yet.

        1. K

          And for having plans in place to replace people mid-season (or fill in around them) when unanticipated issues do arise.

  2. PEBCAK

    I’ve worked in a supervisory role at a summer camp, and I think one of the biggest problems is the reluctance to remove a counselor who isn’t working out, especially at a resident camp. While, ideally, you’d have great hires who can last the whole summer, something always goes wrong, and it’s important to plan up front for this, and be prepared to replace someone.

    1. Camp Director K

      I agree wholeheartedly – it’s not a pleasant job to move or remove a counselor who isn’t working out. That is one of the tasks that makes me wish I were still a counselor and not in charge of our whole program. I have learned that it’s not always fun to be the king. (In fact it’s usually not fun at all!)

  3. Jamie

    In re the eating disorder thing – mentioning something generic about how role modeling is important and how there is training on the signs of eating disorders so the counselors can recognize them in the girls would have caused me to self select out before you finished the sentence.

    Just telling me there is an awareness of eating and that people are alert to the signs would have sent me scurrying back to the “safety” of my life where I could purge in peace.

    And as a PSA being alert to the signs of eating disorders is something in which I think anyone working with pre-teen and teenagers should have training. I was 12 when a coach weighed me in at 2.5 lbs more than was on her chart and she taught me all these little tricks to combat that.

    Well, it only took me 11+ years and a hospitalization in my teens to get past that – for God’s sake train people working with kids to not be trigger machines!

    Not to be all whatever but I live with physical issues of that time to this day – and I haven’t been actively practicing (is there verbiage for that) in literally over two decades. The mindset is still there – it’s more a part of me than most things.

    Yeah – everyone dealing with kids (statistically it affects more girls, but there are 10-15% of people with eating disorders who are male) during the danger age of pre-teen through adolescence needs to be trained on what to look for. It’s easy to go literally years without detection until some nosy, interfering, busy-body reads the signs and steps in to stop you from slowly killing yourself. Which you will thank them for by hating them – for a long time – until you’re better enough to be very grateful.

    Training. End diatribe.

    1. anonymous for this

      On the other side of this, if you are a teacher, coach or camp counselor in charge a girl/young woman who is underweight, please do not act on her appearance alone. If you see her eat a full meal each day, and her parents and pediatrician tell you she doesn’t have an eating disorder, please don’t keep accusing her of having one. My high school guidance counselor was convinced that I had an eating disorder for no other reason than I was very thin, and would not be convinced otherwise. It was so off-putting that I didn’t go to her or anyone else in the guidance department in high school for unrelated issues even though I could have used the help.

      1. Jamie

        ITA – it’s not about appearance it’s about behavior.

        As the mom of three very thin but very healthy kids I know this first hand.

      2. Sam

        Good point. Since when are eating disorders the only explanation for being underweight?! In some cases, it’s just genetics. And in other cases like mine, it’s because there wasn’t enough food at home. I’ll never forget the humiliation I felt when accused of being bulimic. My teacher figured it was bulimia because I was super thin but would stuff my face any time at every opportunity. Instead of helping, the teacher just accused me of being a liar.

        (Oh my, I’m surprised how bitter I still feel about this. /End rant.)

        1. BeenThere

          That’s awful! I once had a fellow student accuse me of being bulimic (super thin and ate all day long even during class) then she immediately apologised because she realised how wrong her comment was. This was then followed up by my teacher pointing out that the brain uses 25% of energy consumed. I was the top student in the class so he didn’t need to say anything further. No one ever speculated again.

          I am very fortunate to have had many teachers who shut up my bullies in a way that didn’t result in retaliation.

      3. Laura L

        Seconded. Also, with some eating disorders (bulimia, specifically) the person suffering from it has a weight in the normal range.

  4. ChristineH

    I’m pretty familiar with the ADA as it relates to employment, so I can empathize with the trickiness of asking about disabilities and mental health issues in job interviews; I think the lines between appropriate and inappropriate methods and questions are more blurred for mental health (and even other invisible disabilities, such as learning disabilities or certain chronic illnesses) than if you were dealing with a physical disability. I’d say Donna’s advice is on the mark.

    1. Katie in Ed

      Yup, great advice. An employer’s only concern regarding an employee’s health extends to whether or not it affects the employees ability to do the job. So really, you shouldn’t be screening for health concerns. You should be screening for ability to do the job.

      I’m incredibly sympathetic to those who suffer from mental illness, and while I know mental health support is outside the purview of employment, that’s a pretty raw deal to those who are sick. Folks who suffer from debilitating illnesses are so often SOL when it comes to care. What are they supposed to do?

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        “What are they supposed to do?”

        That might have been rhetorical, but in case it’s not … I’d say one big thing is to be realistic about what jobs won’t mesh well with what they’re struggling with, as well as what jobs could. That’s not always totally clear from the outside, of course, but it’s something worth being very thoughtful about.

        1. BL

          This is the case with any chronic illness or health condition. I have been to job interviews and realized that the position would be interesting and challenging and would exacerbate a chronic condition I have. It would be irresponsible to knowingly take a job that could put myself and others in a dangerous situation.

          1. Katie in Ed

            I’m not certain we can consider chronic mental illnesses equivalent to chronic physical illnesses. Health insurance doesn’t treat them equally, and while the ADA does, there’s a lot of ignorance surrounding what a “mentally ill” person can do (I put that in quotes because it covers such a wide scope of folks that it doesn’t make sense to group what they “can do,” together, but I digress).

            Case in point: Alison’s response reminded me of the Elyn Sak’s book, The Center Cannot Hold, in which she details her struggles with schizophrenia throughout university and law school. After a serious psychotic episode, a counselor at Yale suggested she get a less-stressful job as a cashier for a semester (she already held an advanced degree from Oxford at this point). Sak’s contends that this clinical push to lower/manage expectations actually limits what people are capable of doing, giving them a grave life sentence to menial work.

            Elyn Saks is probably an exceptional individual, but she’s not the only one. And while I understand that a hiring manager’s job is very simple – to find the best person for the job – we might be seriously bankrupting our brain trust by not providing even adequate, sensitive mental health care.

            1. Laura L

              “Health insurance doesn’t treat them equally.”

              Actually, I think there was a law passed in 2008 that requires health insurers to provide the equivalent coverage for physical and mental health care visits.

              I don’t agree with lowering expectations for people with mental or physical illnesses. But, there are things that can aggravate a mental illness and, depending on the person’s situation at the time and level of care they are able to receive, they might need to avoid whatever it is that’s aggravating it.

              It sucks (I know from experience), but it’s sometimes necessary.

              1. Katie in Ed

                If you’re referring to the Mental Health Parity Act (or something like that), last I heard they kept Congress kept deferring the date when it became mandatory, though I could have out-of-date information. And even so, it does not apply to individual health care plans, so folks like me are still out of luck.

                But really, I came back to post this to prove my eerie psychic powers:

                http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/opinion/sunday/schizophrenic-not-stupid.html?hp&_r=0

  5. Camp Director K

    To the OP – I am a camp director, and I feel your pain. Our program is 100% volunteer-run and operated, so we select applicants rather than hire them. But even on a volunteer basis, we run into a lot of problems as to how to handle counselors who turn out to have major mental health issues that make it difficult for them to do their job efficiently.

    On our application forms, we specifically ask for personal references, not business references. That increases the chance that we may get a more realistic idea of what that person’s strengths and weaknesses are from their “real life” connections. We also ask that the counselor signs off that he/she is physically capable to serve in the capacity of a camp director for the duration of the season, which sometimes prompts people to add little notes about health problems that may prevent them from certain activities. But there is really not much you can find out until you physically get to work with the people you hire.

    After they are hired, if a counselor’s health concern is bad enough that it is putting the campers in danger, we dismiss the counselor immediately on the grounds of the children’s safety. That person then usually becomes ineligible to attend the camp again as a counselor in the future according to our staff procedures.

    If the counselor is not putting any child in danger but just isn’t doing the job well enough, or is displaying behaviors that may be disturbing to the children, we try to resolve it for the season by moving that counselor to a different station or giving him/her a different responsibility. We do that as soon as we know there is a problem. And if they apply the next year, we seriously evaluate that person on whether they improved after the change in responsibilities.

    While it is certainly not politically correct to discriminate against someone with mental health issues, or any health issues – when it comes down to it, the campers and their health and safety must be the first priority at any camp program.

    1. Camp Director K

      For what it’s worth, I should mention that our camp’s mental health-related issues are usually moreso with the children than the counselors. It’s very beneficial to have a nurse or doctor on staff who is well-versed with recognizing signs of mental health crisis.

      We have had to send three campers to the hospital in the past three seasons, and all of the events were related to anxiety attacks and manic episodes of bipolar disorder. Lots of parents seem to think it’s great to take their kids off of their medicine for the summer and then send them away to camp so that they don’t have to deal with the withdrawal period.

      1. Kathryn T.

        “Lots of parents seem to think it’s great to take their kids off of their medicine for the summer and then send them away to camp so that they don’t have to deal with the withdrawal period.”

        AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

        What was it Allison said to someone about an entirely unrelated matter? “Ack, don’t do this!” ACK. DON’T DO THIS.

    2. OP

      Yes! What you’re describing is exactly the situation at my camp. It’s all volunteer-based (even the camp director raises his own salary rather than being paid by camp itself), which results in an interesting mix of applicants. Roughly 80% are awesome, motivated by a desire to give back rather than get paid, but then there’s that other 20%, who assume that our standards are lower because we’re looking for people who are wiling to forgo a paycheck.

      We’re lucky to have a separate staff of program specialists who run activity areas and counselors whose only responsibility is to their campers, so it’s (relatively) easy to move staffers who aren’t working out as a counselor into a different role. It’s just a pain because then you have to re-train, don’t have as much flexibility with our staff, etc. I’m sure you can relate.

      1. Camp Director K

        Yep, we have a similar setup – about half of the staff are activity-only, and the other half cart the kids around all day.

        With us, roughly 70% are former-campers-turned-counselors who mostly want to hang out with their old friends, which makes them not as motivated to do their jobs. But their attitudes do improve as the years go by. The other 30% are very good and want to be there to work and give back as you said.

        I can totally relate!

  6. AnotherAlison

    FWIW, props to the OP & the rest of you who work with kids and young adults — both the campers & the counselors.

    I put a teenager in charge of a 3rd grader every day, knowing full well that his maturity isn’t to the level of an adult and his decision-making is not always the best. Those of you who manage young adults and kids are awesome.

  7. UK HR Bod

    This probably isn’t the case for you, or someone would have mentioned it, but in the UK we can do health screening. The use of generic screening has tightened up recently, but we can still screen (most large companies use an occupational health provider) for specific things. In an instance like this, you might provide the OHP with a job spec that highlighted the need to offer mentoring / counselling, do physical work, work at night etc, and the OHP would then provide recommendations on whether they were fit for the role, or whether they would need any adjustments to the role to allow them to perform it. So for someone who was afraid of the dark and had flashbacks, they might say that an adjustment for that person would be to have them work only during the day – it’s then up to you as an employer to decide whether that’s reasonable, and I imagine in your instance it wouldn’t be.

  8. PPK

    At the risk of making light of serious situations, it’s problems like this where I imagine crazy check boxes/rules in the future. Having been burned hiring before, applicants must now go through a screening that includes, “Are you afraid of the dark?” “Do you have a phobia of children?”

    In one of my college dorms, the list of rules included, “Bikes may not be stored in the restrooms.” I only assumed someone tried and they had to make an oddly specific rule for it.

    1. the gold digger

      When I see wierd rules in other countries (“Please don’t pee/spit here”) or bizarre product warnings here (“Don’t use this hairdryer while you are in the bathtub!”), I always assume it’s because someone has done that thing.

      1. jesicka309

        In our public toilets (Australia) in the cities/univeristies, there are signs on the back of the door with diagrams instructing people not to squat on the toilet (think feet on the seat squatting), not to pee on the floor, to use toilet paper, to throw their sanitary items in the bin not the floor etc. I’m sure it’s because we have a high population of immigrants in the city areas, but it makes me wonder a) whether people on other countries throw their tampons on the ground and pee on the floor next to the toilet, and b) How many times this happened before they made the signs. Those poor cleaners!

        1. Kelly L.

          The feet on the seat thing is a real cultural difference and has to do with the way toilets are designed in some parts of the world. The other stuff, I suspect, is just because some people, no matter their nationality, are pigs.

          1. Jamie

            Actually there are parts of Mexico and other countries where they don’t flush the paper, in rural areas especially because the r sewage system is different and can’t handle it.

            There a website with travel guides to where you do and don’t flush paper. In some places the dirty toilet paper goes in the trash. We don’t have trash cans in men’s stall, obvious reasons, and woman’s trash canas in stals are tiny. Hence the problem.

            I’ve had to arrange trainings in my early career to tell people to flush toilet paper, etc. signs with what can be flushed and what should be thrown out were necessary.

            It’s not a question of anyone being a pig anymore than Americans would be pigs if we went to their area , flushed paper and flooded their bathrooms. It’s just a pretty ingrained habit people and people need to understand the local customs.

          2. Some European

            As this topic came up here a few times lately, maybe interested people should better take a look at that article about Public Restrooms at Cracked, before it goes on too long. One warning though, it is most likely TMI for halfway sensitive people. ;)

          3. jesicka309

            I guess I always figured that some people have different cultures, I know that, but you learn PRETTY quick how things roll overseas. I can understand having those kinds of signs in airports, tourist attractions etc. But in a university? Surely someone from another country has used a modern toilet in the time between arriving in the country and coming to my university to study? It only took me once to figure out the squat toilet when I went to Indonesia, and I was eleven.

            1. BeenThere

              I pretty sure I know Which university’s these would be as I went to one myself. It’s highly probable that the students have come straight from the airport to the campus. Some of their families go into massive debt to send them overseas to the Australian Universities so they aren’t likely to have jetsetted around the world or to have a large awareness of other cultures.

        2. Flynn

          Asian toilets are built differently; basically a hole in the ground that you squat over, not a ‘chair’ that you sit on, so there is some cultural adjustment there (my NZ university actually had some Asian style toilets).

        3. PB

          We had to have these signs put in our uni research institute toilets after someone actually had an accident on one by squatting on the seat, breaking the ceramic bowl and severely injuring themselves. OHS memos are such fun.

        4. OldSoul

          Um, I had a very good friend just recently ask me if I thought it would be OK to flush tampons down the toilet at her new house (that she had bought). In the past when she rented, she had flushed them because no one had ever told her that she couldn’t/shouldn’t do it.
          Even though, it clearly states on the box that you should never flush feminine hygiene products.

      2. Rana

        One of the little insights you learn when you’re training to become a historian is that sources that deal with “don’t do this” prohibitions (don’t: spit on the floor; pick your teeth at the table; flirt with the waitress; show up late to work; steal from the factory supplies; drive over the speed limit…) are a great way to find out what people were doing. Basically, there’s no need to prohibit things that people aren’t doing or aren’t likely to do; they simply don’t do them. So if the prohibition existed, the prohibited behavior likely did too.

        1. Jamie

          There is a funny website somewhere that has dumb laws that are still on the books in the US and it’s an even funnier read if you keep this in mind.

          For example, it’s illegal to shave in the middle of Main Street in Tylertown, Mississippi. That’s a response to an act – not a law you make just in case.

          1. moss

            I believe in some states you are prohibited from walking down the street with ice cream in your pocket. That’s one way to steal a horse, I guess!

  9. Anon

    If the nature of your camp is for children with mental health issues then it should be within bounds for you to ask potential employees to disclose their previous experiences with mental health issues. Either professionally (as in an intern) or personally. In some cases, it’s a good for a counselor with (fill in the blank) issue to work with campers facing the same thing. Sometimes, that’s completely horrible. A bad thing for the counselor and camper. Since the camper’s mental health is paramount, you should be in the clear to ask that.

    I work with undergrad seniors in the mental health field who are completing a 500 hour practicum in the field. Many want to intern at a facility where the disorders are familiar. In some cases, this is okay. In other cases, we’ve had to move interns to another type of facility.

  10. Tank

    Only last week, I noticed that one of the new recruits would have very animated conversations with himself. I mentioned it to my manager who said I must’ve been mistaken because the Sales Manager who had interviewed him would’ve recognized it. Later that day, she called me in shock after witnessing what I had reported to her, saying for sure she would discuss it with the Sales Manager because it was so bizarre. He’s already employed so what can you do?

  11. Amanda

    When I went to summer camp, no one was hired as a full-time counselor without going through a counselor-in-training period, usually a full summer. Those CITs didn’t get paid but did get something like free tuition for the summer. That seems to me to be a good way to suss out these problems in the future. CITs were almost always recruited from among the campers, so those doing the hiring had years and years of heads up of any problems, and it was always made clear to us that not everyone graduated to CIT from camper or to full counselor from CIT. I never pursued it myself, but my fiance did the whole route and described his CIT year as a really good, intensive learning and screening experience.

  12. cali7

    As a former self-inflictor (not cutter actually) I just wanted to throw out there that just because someone struggles with that specific addiction does not mean they can’t be a role model for young people. Think actually that I was actively doing it, and recovering from it, while I was a youth group leader. To the best of my knowledge, the kids never knew, neither did anyone else in the church except for the one woman I told when she was discussing her daughter’s struggles with that issue with me, and perhaps her husband. Now I’m not saying that this is a good coping mechanism to have at all, simply that just because someone is struggling with a mental health issue does not mean they cannot do jobs that involve mentoring youth. (Nor do I think everyone struggling could do it.) Just be careful that if you screen for mental health you don’t screen out good workers who can pretty effectively work and deal with their issues at home.

    1. OP

      You’re right – just because someone has struggled with self-harm shouldn’t disqualify them from this type of work. In fact, I would find it really beneficial to have someone on staff who has been there and can really sympathize with hurting youngsters. I think, though, that there’s a difference between struggling with self-harm (recognizing that it’s a problem, getting help) and actively engaging in it. Struggle to maintain a healthy body image? Ok. Sit at the dinner table with your campers and only eat 5 carrot sticks? That’s going to be noticed, especially if it’s a regular thing.

  13. Emily

    I used to recruit and train volunteers for a rape crisis helpline, and we got a lot of survivors wanting to volunteer which was great. I always asked everyone at their initial interview if there was anything they wanted me to be aware of to support them in volunteering, and then would say, ‘such as access needs, or any triggers you might have.’ We asked it again on their equality monitoring forms (which are anonymous) and again at the end of their training (when they might feel more comfortable than at the beginning). But we always phrased it as ‘what can we do to support you, what do you think we need to know about? If we don’t need to know, you don’t need to tell us’ – so they shared what was relevant and we worked on solutions. Maybe you could do something similar, and give the example of doing a camp in the dark or something?

    1. OP

      oooh, this is good! Especially because my camp puts a big emphasis on supporting staff members with weekly one-on-one mentoring, group Bible studies (it’s a religious camp), and a general atmosphere of “we want you, the counselor, to grow through this experience,” a question like this wouldn’t seem out of place. I also like your suggestion of mentioning this at different points in the training process – neither of my two examples revealed their struggles to me until near the end of our 2-week inservice period, when they had started to feel comfortable with me. Thanks for the tip!

  14. Captain Poultry

    It’s refreshing to read that most of the comments are not about eradicating people with mental illnesses from the workplace. I work in mental health and all too frequently come across discrimination based on fear of “dangerous” and “unpredictable” people.

    The reality is that people with a mental illness are more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than they are at committing violent crimes. Having worked with offenders who were deemed not criminally responsible due to mental illness, they are almost always reacting to something out of fear for their own safety and are not intent on committing violent crimes.

    Recovery from mental illness is possible; people can, and do, live very fulfilling and seemingly “normal” lives with even the most severe of mental illnesses.

    Mental health is also more akin to a continuum than a “normal vs. crazy” dichotomy. We all possess mental health, just like we all possess physical health. In most cases, employers can easily accommodate someone with a mental illness to be able to fulfill the duties of the job with little to no costs to the employer but employers are often at a loss of concrete ideas on how to help.

    I’d also like to remind people that those with “bizarre” behaviour, such as having an animated conversation with yourself, does not mean that that person is dangerous or unable to do the job well.

    Peer Support, where someone with a mental illness begins helping others with mental illnesses, is a hot topic right now. Many studies are showing that utilizing peer support workers increases the chances of recovery for others still early on in their recovery process.

    Mental health awareness and training for everyone should be just as mandatory as first aid training. If you know even the basics about mental health, those odd behaviours are much less frightening and “unpredictable”. You may even start to become aware of some of the many strengths that people with mental illnesses bring to the employment sector.

  15. Jack

    I am bipolar, and it scares me how people discriminate from their misunderstandings. We need more communication, education, and tolerance.

    I was an upper-level executive director. My last employer capitalized on my creativity, innovation, and literally a work ethic where the days never ended. Finally, I took a chance with co-managers that I trusted, I explained my situation, I asked for some time off, and shortly thereafter I was terminated.

    It’s a tough world and even tougher on those of us suffering from serious mental health challenges.

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