Mental illness skyrockets within U.S. workforce - Sovereign Health Group
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Mental illness skyrockets within U.S. workforce
01-30-17 Category: Mental Health, Research

“There is increasing evidence that both the content and context of work can play a role in the development of mental health problems in the workplace,” says the World Health Organization (WHO) in its report titled “Mental Health Policies and Programs in the Workplace.”

Emphasizing on workplace stress, an article published in Bloomberg’s Bureau of National Affairs on Jan. 26, 2017, highlighted the growing problem of mental illness in the workforce in the United States and some secondary problems associated with it. Considering the fact that mental illness is on the rise in the U.S., anyone in the workforce can be afflicted with a mental problem. It has become a grave issue today and the discrimination and stigma associated with it have only worsened the situation.

Discrimination claims brought by workers with mental issues is at an all-time high, as are disability claims in general. In 1997, the percentage of claims alleging mental health-based bias was 15.4 percent that steadily increased to 23.3 percent in 2016. Cheryle Bates-Harris, a senior disability advocacy specialist for the National Disability Rights Network said that “discrimination is our business and business is good.”

The statistics does not help in pinpointing at the exact number of cases of actual discrimination. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been working to resolve such charges. The Commission has outlined workers’ rights that is helping address the problem. The EEOC was able to resolve 5,000 charges, pulling in $20 million by applying the guidelines.

Online resources available for the benefit of all

Many online resources are available in this area for the benefit of employers, employees and mental health care providers. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is one such organization that offers free guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues for employers and employees. At times, people with mental health disabilities require special workplace accommodations that require a doctor’s recommendations. Even for this, the EEOC published a factsheet for mental health care providers that outline how to make such recommendations in a reasonable manner.

While some mental health conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are chronic in nature, many of the most common types of mental illness can be managed or can become asymptomatic with treatment. Most people would prefer to live a healthy life than requiring others to accommodate their special needs if they had a choice. Advancements in evidence-based treatment modalities can help restore mental health and manage chronic symptoms.

Seeking treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with mental illness, understand that effective treatment is available. Sovereign Health of California is a leader in the treatment for mental illness, substance use disorders and co-occurring illnesses. We combine the most accurate and effective approaches for diagnostic assessment and treatment, providing optimal long-term outcomes. Comprehensive treatment includes novel, conventional, and holistic therapies. Our care plans are tailored according to the needs of each individual. Our ongoing continuing care program provides the support that patients need to recover and remain free from addiction. To find out more about specialized programs at Sovereign Health, call us at our 24/7 helpline.

About the author

Dana Connolly, Ph.D., is a senior staff writer for Sovereign Health, where she translates current research into practical information. She earned her Ph.D. in research and theory development from New York University and has decades of experience in clinical care, medical research and health education. Sovereign Health is a professional information resource and Dr. Connolly helps to ensure excellence in our model. For more information and other inquiries about this article, contact the author at

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