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Mental Health Problems and Stigma - Overview


For most people, work is an important part of their lives and identities. Having a job helps you feel better about yourself and your future. It gives you a chance to connect with others. Work also provides needed income, and it gives you a chance to learn and grow as a person.

Because of stigma about mental health problems, some employers may have concerns about hiring you. This can make it harder for you to get the job you want. Think about the benefits and harms of telling an employer if you have PTSD. If you need special accommodations, then you probably need to tell your employer. For example, if you need to leave in the middle of the day for an appointment. Ask for advice and support from your mental health care team. They can help you see the benefits or downsides of talking about your problem with an employer.

If you have a job already, you may feel stressed or nervous at work. Or you may be worn out or tired. Getting treatment for your symptoms will help improve your ability to work.

Most communities have resources, such as local job services, that can help you find a job and be successful at it. Community services include:

  • Job skills training. This includes help with preparing for interviews, preparing resumes, and learning other skills needed to find work.
  • Education about tax incentive programs. This may help you get extra money.
  • On-the-job training placement. This helps you get work experience.

Getting help

Many cities have a local job service, employment office, or state health and welfare office. These organizations can help you get work or find a place to live. You can find information about these services in the phone book or on the Internet.

Your doctor or a local church also may be able to connect you with services that can help. Your doctor may refer you to a social worker or case manager who can help you find a place to live. You may be able to find the training and support you need to get and keep a job. You may also find programs through your mental health care team.

Substance abuse, which is common with some mental health problems, may make your life harder. If you have this problem, talk to your doctor about getting drug or alcohol treatment.

If you sometimes lose your temper or harm others, talk with people about it. Your health care team and family can help you. Drug and alcohol use also may lead to actions that can harm you or others and/or result in jail time, so avoid them. If you have a drug or alcohol problem, get help.

If you or your loved one is in jail and has a mental health problem, make sure the staff members know about the problem. They may have services that can help. Support also may be available when you or your loved one is released from jail.

People with mental health problems also are more likely to be victims of crime. Ask a trusted family member, friend, or health professional to help you if you are a victim of a crime.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 09, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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