People with mental illness are facing a ‘locked door’ of prejudice and misunderstanding from employers keeping them out of the workplace, a survey from Rethink has found.
The survey looking at 500 people with hiring responsibilities shows 65% of people who can hire staff would worry that someone with severe mental illness wouldn’t ‘fit in with the team’.
Another 83% would worry that someone with severe mental illness wouldn’t be able to cope with the demands of the job.
The survey found that only 43% of all people with mental health problems are in employment, compared with 74% of the general population.
This is despite the two thirds of people with mental illness who were unemployed saying they wanted to work or are looking for work.
Over half (54%) of bosses wouldn’t know how to support someone with a severe mental health condition, like schizophrenia, at work.
However 56% would be more likely to employ someone if they felt better equipped to support them, for example through training.
Brian Dow, Director of External Affairs at Rethink Mental Illness said: “These figures show us that the vast majority of managers still have cold feet when it actually comes to employing people with mental illness.
“No wonder many people with mental illness feel like they’re pushing against a locked door when it comes to employment. Prejudice and confusion are keeping people who are well enough and want to work out of employment.
“Employing people with mental illness is not as fraught or complex as people seem to think. Often the adjustments people need are easy and don’t cost anything, like flexible working, quiet areas and well being plans.”