According to Cindy Sterling, ServiceSource Delaware (SSDE) Director of Employment Services, “Most people with severe mental health issues want to work. Individual placement and support programs have proven effective in helping them obtain and keep competitive jobs. Oftentimes, stress levels decrease once a job is started. When there is stress following the start of a job, it is typically associated with a fear of failure and pressure to perform. Having an employment support system in place can help people work through these higher stress times and stay productive on the job.”
In 2018, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) theme for Mental Health Month addresses the critical need to fight the stigma associated with the illness. The NAMI website (https://www.nami.org) notes that nearly 20% of all Americans are affected by mental health conditions. “Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment.” The NAMI campaign manifesto states, “Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.”
Mental Illness and success at work are not mutually exclusive. The wikiHow to do anything. . . website (https://www.wikihow.com/Have-a-Successful-Career-with-Mental-Illness#Handling_Workplace_Pressures_sub) offers people with mental health issues useful, everyday advice for coping with job stress and maintaining employment.
Over the past year SSDE provided program services to approximately 1,100 individuals, 15% or whom were coping with mental health issues. Most frequently accessed services included resume development, job interest counseling, computer-assisted job search, interview preparation, and job placement and follow-along. For more information on SSDE job development and placement programs contact Cindy Sterling at 302-765-1232.