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What Type of Workplace Accommodations Should Be Made for Those with Mental Illness?

What Type of Workplace Accommodations Should Be Made for Those with Mental Illness?

Your organization’s environment speaks volumes to the way employees are valued and cared for. While personal life is separate from work life, mental illness can affect a person’s ability to succeed in the workplace, making this an important workplace matter. Each year, billions of dollars are lost in workplace productivity due to employee absenteeism – in many cases, this is due to mental illness concerns with a lack of communication between employees and supervisors. By spending some time thinking about the ways that you can make your business culture more inclusive and supportive to those with mental illness, you increase your chances for employee retention, production, and job satisfaction.

What type of accommodations may be provided? A 2015 study published in the Journal of Occupation Rehabilitation sought to conduct a general review of workplace accommodations requested by those with mental illness. Researchers found the following to be most prominent:

  • Flexible scheduling/reduced hours (such as working with the employee while they attend therapy)
  • Modified training and supervision (such as additional orientation, communication efforts, materials, and more)
  • Modified job duties/descriptions (such as sight changes in expectations for performance)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also provides the following additional suggestions for workplace accommodations:

  • Allowing a service animal to provide additional comfort and support
  • Communicating with your employees their ability to leave their workstation if they’re experiencing a panic attack
  • Minute, small adjustments, such as noise-cancelling headphones, for those employees sensitive to outside noises while they work
  • Providing the ability to work from home
  • Scheduling one-on-one meetings to check in with employees and see how they’re doing if that’s what they prefer

Matthew Aumen, a program analyst for SAMHSA, stated, “I think it is critical for employers to understand that workplace accommodations create substantial benefits for the organization…[they] remove barriers, which allows employees to maximize their potential and performance.”

Furthermore, creating an atmosphere in which mental illness is respected means that your team may be more responsive to you should you struggle with mental illness yourself. Serve as a role model and show your organization what it means to seek help, work hard in recovery, and continue to succeed.

If you haven’t already, speak with someone from a professional treatment center to learn more about programs to best suit your needs. Optimal recovery is possible, and you are not alone in your pursuit for happiness, health, and wellbeing.

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