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New research from Australia shows that the stigma of a mental illness has a greater impact on people’s employment prospects than physical disability or illness. The study revealed that mental illness, even with all of the apparent enlightenment of modern society, continues to be a serious obstacle to employment.
Researchers noted that one in every five Australian adults has been affected with some kind of mental illness during the last year. The barrier to employing people who have had or have a mental illness is simply ignorance, according to Matthew Lambelle, from WISE Employment, the non-profit that commissioned the study. WISE Employment is dedicated to the reduction of stigma associated with employing people with mental illness. WISE explained that any organization which has at least five workers most likely has already hired someone with some kind of mental illness; many of them in positions of trust and responsibility.
Lambelle quoted research which shows that 72% of small and medium enterprises which took on a person with a mental illness had either a very positive or positive experience.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), stigma is the main reason three-quarters of all people with mental illness do not seek treatment, while they also experience fear, discrimination, shame, disrespect and contempt. Even self-stigma is a problem. The individual can lose all hope. Eliminating stigma requires public awareness about the realities concerning mental illness and the very effective treatments there are today.
A comprehensive range of services and public awareness is necessary to help individuals with mental illness to recover. Getting a job, working with a team, and supporting oneself is key to improving health.
Source: Mental Health Week/Australia, MedicalNewsToday
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