Mental disorders and job hunting

One of the chronic, and most serious, epidemics in history is in progress, in the form of mental disorders, usually depression, with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder becoming more common.

It's usually overlooked that people with these disorders are usually required to find work, and live their lives. Nowhere is this more obvious than the employment market, where the level of ignorance is at staggering levels.

Legally, mental health problems are no obstacle to obtaining work, unless the condition is so severe that hospitalization is required.

Culturally, the discrimination, intentional or otherwise, is pretty obvious. Most people don't understand the issues, let alone the actual conditions.

That's ironic, because statistically, 25% of Western populations will experience some form of mental disorder, usually depression. Anyone who's ever had depression will know that one of the big problems is that you don't even know what the condition is, when you get the symptoms.

Neither, apparently, does anyone in the employment industry.

Employers don't seem to have received much in the way of training or education on these conditions. They, like most people, don't go looking for information, either.

There's a sort of unwritten law about mental issues. Anything mental seems to be off limits as a topic socially, too, which doesn't help spread the word.

Which leaves us with a rather unwholesome situation where 25% of the population is at risk from something nobody wants to talk about. It also leaves people with manageable medical conditions at a serious disadvantage in finding work.

Sometimes unemployment is actually a trigger for these conditions. Stress caused by unemployment and related disasters causes hormonal imbalances, and depression is the usual result. Depression requires medication, and some adjustment to a condition which is truly tough to deal with.

(Note: We're talking mainly about depression in this article, but the arguments apply to the other conditions equally. Depression is the most common of the mental health issues in employment issues.)

If this looks unfair, it is. A lot of people live and work with depression, and they're not penalized. Nobody may understand a thing about the condition, but for employed people, it's much less of a problem in terms of just living.

People with other medical conditions don't receive anything like the same treatment. A lot of people with so called physical medical conditions are given every consideration.

Occasionally people with depression receive proper treatment from employers, but nobody's been calling it a common occurrence.

Depression is caused by a physical medical condition too, hormonal imbalance, but when it's depression, it's like you've got leprosy.

This irrational response really isn't acceptable.

Nor are the double standards.

Unemployment without depression is bad enough. Nobody would call it a holiday. There are a lot of problems that just don't go away, and if you have depression, they're that much worse. In a lot of cases, the person's circumstances are extremely bad before they get depression.

The combination of poverty, social pressures, lack of options, and an employment market which is much like an obstacle course is genuinely dangerous. Only a fool would consider it to be anything else, but for some reason, when depression is also mentioned, that becomes the big issue.

Says a lot about the priorities of some so called experts that these basic facts are rarely even mentioned, when talking about unemployment.

So the unemployed have to fight depression, too, and without even getting recognition of the condition.

In many cases they win their fight. It can be a long tough war, but they make a point of winning it. Depression is the sort of illness it's a pleasure to beat.

The fact that an unemployed person with depression can get to an interview and answer questions is sometimes a major achievement.

If you've never had depression, hope you'll never know how tough that is. Many people with depression have trouble even being able to speak properly and finish a sentence. The fact that someone can hold an intelligent discussion is bordering on miraculous.

As a matter of fact, it's also a good indication the condition is under good management, and the person is doing well, and probably recovering well.

Medication is achieving a lot, and people are getting depression and recovering from it. Depression is different from other conditions, but it's the same in terms of things like management. It's a matter of doing the course, and many people do recover well, even if it takes a while.

Management isn't easy in some cases, but most people do put in a lot of time and effort, and learn how to live with depression and beat it. Depression is a real daily management routine, and there's a lot of rebuilding to do.

By the time a person with depression is ready to work, plenty of hard work has already gone into getting into that condition.

For all that effort to be a disadvantage in terms of getting a job is pure injustice, as well as being illegal in most countries.

The general appearance is of a clueless employment market, which is just too lazy to get a handle on something which will definitely affect so many people.

If even labor laws, which are hardly the last word in modernism, can recognize a problem, why can't an advanced employment market?

If the medical insurance industry, another famously progressive social force, can insure for people with depression, why not the employment industry?

This is the early 21st century.

Let's make sure it's not the late 21st century before this issue becomes yet another useless hangover from the 19th century.