- Parent Category: Training
- Created on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 05:30
- Published Date
Siyakha Consulting has come out in support of the Department of Health’s listing as Mental Illness Awareness Month.
Unlike physical disabilities, mental impairments are far harder to be aware of, and as such are often a neglected area in workplace disclosure.
“Often, as a result of an unwillingness to disclose a mental illness, an employee will not be accommodated as a person with disability,” explains Siyakha Consulting Executive Director, Dionne Kerr.
Like any other part of the body, the brain can become ill. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists numerous mental health disorders. The symptoms are wide and varied, as are the effects on the patient. Many mental illnesses also reflect co-morbidity, meaning that an employee who presents with Bi-Polar disorder may also suffer from Clinical Depression.
Many mental illnesses are a result of chemical imbalances within the brain. Taking prescribed medication, often every day, can enable the person to lead a normal life, working alongside colleagues with no noticeable disability. Some treatment is, however, not medicinal, but rather a process of multi-disciplinary psycho-social rehabilitation.
“The employee will then have a dedicated medical, psychological and social treatment programme. A person suffering from a mental illness will be recognized as having a disability because the impairment is likely to be long-term or the episodes may be recurring,” says Kerr.
Without the use of medication or therapy, the impairment is likely to be substantially limiting and thus the individual will have difficulty in completing tasks at work. He/she may present with difficulties in memory, thought processes, judgement, problem solving, concentration and decision making.
“Depending on the nature of the disability and the presentation of the individual, we can assist companies in determining what the reasonable accommodation is,” adds Kerr.
“People with psychiatric disorders are often discriminated against in the workplace and a major part of accommodating mental illness is in understanding treatment processes and requirements.”
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