Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stigma, Employment and the Mentally Disabled

There is a movement within the mental health system. This movement is to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness. Since 1990 it was seen that stereotypes and ignorance was great in association with the mentally ill. People avoided living with, associating, socializing, working with and renting to or even employing people with any kind of mental disorder. Stigma leads to discrimination and abuse both physically and verbally and it causes isolation and loss of hope.
People with mental illness are most often poor and often rely upon or are dependent on government income, rent subsidies, food stamps and hospital care. The unemployment rate was about 90% for those with disabilities and mental disorders and this was in 1992. Yet the standard of living and employment are growing, being associated with better clinical help and a better quality of life. Individuals with mental disorders who had employment were found to do better, with reduced symptoms than those who remained unemployed. “The focus throughout was also not only upon the consumer yet also on orientation into the work force and training of supervisors and support for both consumers and employees.
Overcome Stigma:
“Powerful and pervasive, stigma prevents people from acknowledging their own mental health problems, much less disclosing them to others. For our Nation to reduce the burden of mental illness, to improve access to care, and to achieve urgently needed knowledge about the brain, mind, and behavior, stigma must no longer be tolerated. Research on brain and behavior that continues to generate ever more effective treatments for mental illnesses is a potent antidote to stigma. The issuance of this Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health seeks to help reduce stigma by dispelling myths about mental illness, by providing accurate knowledge to ensure more informed consumers, and by encouraging help seeking by individuals experiencing mental health problems”.
While this exist, the social services and vocational rehabilitation strive to overcome the high levels of unemployment in the mental health sector where in many consumers were unable to work or did not want to work which was due to education and also interruptions by cause of symptoms interference, discrimination, not to mention jobs which do not pay well. Stigma and discrimination has a street which divides the wealth and the poor and the mentally ill and disabled. Strength is what is spoken of a lot at MHCD (Mental Health Center of Denver) and hope in overcoming the disabilities not to forget about faith, which is what is demonstrated to create change.
These are not my own words, these words are the excerpts from a speech on Stigma, Employment and Mental Health by the Surgeon General, September 2011, find hope and reassurance there is aspiration in what can be through faith.

Written by Donald Sammons

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