Accomodating disability employer
Not every person experiencing mental illness will have difficulty at work, but some will.
“Hidden” disabilities such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, traumatic brain injury, and intellectual and learning disabilities (e.g., attention deficit disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) can affect a person’s ability to perform his or her job.
A doctor may be required to validate the need for accommodation.
“Employers have to understand that you can’t always know what a person is living with,” says Beth Loy, Ph.
“Also, for a person who may be easily triggered or anxious, a service dog can help with grounding.
It just depends on the individual and what will help in their particular experience.” Melanie Whetzel, MA, CBIS, the lead consultant on the Cognitive Neurological Team at JAN, says, “Most of the mental impairment questions we receive relate to service animals, flexible schedules, flexibility to leave the workstation if someone feels panicked and needs to get grounded, comfortable and private space to take breaks, and insulation to abate noise.” Jeanette Barnes lives with mental illness and doesn’t respond well to medication.
Mental illness can present unique challenges to employment.
People with disabilities encounter many different types of barriers in their everyday lives, for example, inaccessible buildings, transport or websites and poor communication or service facilities.
With Chloe’s assistance and support, I am able to sustain my recovery as well as manage triggering situations and prevent symptomatic behaviors.” She also notes that sometimes the process of exploring accommodation can lead to a job change.
“When an employer learns about the accommodation needed, they may offer the opportunity to shift to a different job that will make the accommodation easier or the job task will be more manageable,” she says.
People who want to understand their rights regarding disabilities and possible accommodations can access information on JAN’s website or reach out to them directly.
Experts at JAN respond to questions, provide training, and conduct outreach to raise awareness about disability rights and job accommodations.