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Job Searching With a Mental Health Condition

If you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, employment can be an essential part of your recovery. Meaningful work can positively impact your overall mental outlook, as it allows you to use your skills and talents while boosting your self-confidence. It can also add some much-needed structure to your schedule. Unfortunately, having a mental health issue can create barriers to finding work. Many people become sidelined from the workforce due to negative stigmas surrounding mental illness.

Whether this is your first time embarking on a job quest since your diagnosis or you’re simply on the look for a new employment opportunity, you’re bound to have concerns and fears. However, don’t give up. There are jobs and employment opportunities for people struggling with mental illness. If you’re on the hunt for a job, here are some considerations that may help.

1. Find Work That Works for You

You may be tempted to apply to as many jobs as possible. However, before you begin the process, evaluate your own needs and job preferences. Here are some factors to consider when assessing which jobs might work best for you:

  • Work environment
  • Schedule
  • Supportive management
  • Benefits

2. Know Your Strengths and Talents

Find employment opportunities where you feel you can bring something to the table and excel. Careers that utilize your skills and talents will boost your confidence and give you a sense of meaning and satisfaction — all of which will benefit your overall mental outlook. While you may not find a job in your field of interest, knowing your unique strengths will help you find a position where you can thrive.

3. Get Help With Your Job Hunt

You don’t have to search for jobs alone. Whether you turn to a professional mentor or a family member, having an outside perspective to read your resume or review prospective careers will give you the confidence to move forward. There are also outside services at your disposal, such as vocational rehabilitation programs or a mental health occupational therapist.

4. Decide What to Disclose

Your application may include voluntary questions about whether you have a disability — and that includes mental health conditions. Whether or not you choose to disclose anything on your application is up to you. You’re not obligated to reveal anything you’re not comfortable sharing. Most applications are about what you can offer as an employee.

5. Remember That You’re Protected Against Discrimination

The Americans with Disabilities Act establishes explicit legal protections. If you disclose your mental health history during a job interview, it would be illegal for that company to reject you based on that information.

6. Take the Process One Step at Time

Applying for work can feel overwhelming at times. The process is time-consuming. Interviews can lead to anxiety and worry, and rejection can be difficult to overcome. If you’re struggling with the emotional and psychological toll of your job search, remember to practice self-care and to find support as you move forward.

Find Dual Diagnosis Help at Gateway Foundation

Sadly, mental health conditions sometimes give way to substance misuse. Many people with mental illness use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. If you need help, the team at Gateway Foundation offers evidence-based care for these co-occurring conditions. As you complete treatment, we can also help you begin your job search for meaningful work. Let us help you break free from addiction, address your mental health and find a more hopeful tomorrow. Contact us today.

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