Of all persons with disabilities, those with a serious mental illness face the highest degree of stigmatization in the workplace, and the greatest barriers to employment. Many and varied employment obstacles face adults with psychiatric disabilities, such as gaps in work history, limited employment experience, lack of confidence, fear and anxiety, workplace discrimination and inflexibility, social stigma and the rigidity of existing income support/benefit programs.
The unemployment rate of persons with serious mental illness reflects these obstacles and has been commonly reported to range from 70-90%, depending on the severity of the disability. These statistics are particularly disturbing in light of the fact that productive work has been identified as a leading component in promoting positive mental health and in paving the way for a rich and fulfilling life in the community.
Access to meaningful, paid work is a basic human right for every citizen, and those who experience serious mental illness should have equal access to the fundamental elements of citizenship which include: housing, education, income and work. This means that each individual has the right to be employed in a mainstream job, rather than being labeled as a client in a training program or a sheltered workshop.
In this section, you will find information and resources on how to find and retain employment if you are struggling with a mental illness.
Mental Health Works Program
Mental Health Works:
- Provides workshops and presentations about mental health in the workplace, particularly the employer’s duty to accommodate and their need to manage the performance of employees with mental illness
- Designs and delivers customized training
- Provides consultation for complex accommodations and return-to-work plans
- Delivers e-learning, information kits and other tools for employers
- Offers free information for employers and employees atwww.mentalhealthworks.ca
Mental Health Works helps organizations to manage their duty to accommodate employees experiencing mental disabilities such as depression or anxiety in the workplace. In many cases, employers are so afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, that they say nothing. This can lead to decreased productivity, lower morale, and conflict in the work environment. We help employers respond immediately and appropriately when employees experience mental health problems and effectively manage performance and productivity issues. It is founded on the belief that focusing on solutions around mental health issues in the workplace will benefit employers and employees alike.
The profile of the program has grown steadily. Our “Complex Issues. Clear Solutions.” Management Workshop won the 2004 Canadian Award for Training Excellence in the External Training Category from the Canadian Society of Training and Development. Also in 2004, Mental Health Works was recommended as a remedy in a human rights case by the provincial human rights commission. Rather than simply penalizing the organization, the commission wanted Mental Health Works to provide positive changes in the organization’s ability to handle future accommodation issues.
Mental Health Works workshops and presentations are all delivered by trainers certified by CMHA Ontario.
Who we are
Mental Health Works is an award-winning initiative of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario. It began in 2001 as a partnership research project involving the voluntary sector, government and business. In 2004 Mental Health Works began selling products and services to the business community and the response has been tremendous.
If you are interested in learning more about Mental Health Works or how you or your organization can get involved, contact:
Mental Health Works
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
500-250 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8