Mental health stigma damaging to career

London, Aug 31 (Inditop.com) A shocking 92 percent of the British public believes that admitting mental illness is damaging to one’s career.

The three careers most damaged were doctors (56 percent), emergency services (54 percent) and teachers (48 percent). However, only 21 percent of respondents thought that it would be damaging to the career of a parliamentarian, despite it being illegal for someone to work as an MP with a history of mental illness.

The survey commissioned for the anti-stigma campaign Time to Change also found that as mental illness rises during the recession, people may find it more difficult to get jobs if they admitted mental illness in a job interview.

The study asked 2,082 people to imagine that they were interviewing someone for a job, and the interviewee admitted that from time to time they suffered from depression.

Despite the respondents considering this person the best candidate for the job, more than half (56 percent) would not employ them because of their mental illness.

Responses from the survey were also broken down by professions, such as health workers, lawyers and banking. It found that bank workers were most likely to discriminate against someone with mental illness.

Almost half of respondents (46 percent) working in this sector were either reluctant to employ someone with mental illness because they’d be unreliable or worried that they’d get the blame for employing them if they went off sick.

This is worrying for members of the banking industry, a sector hit by the recession, when they attempt to get new jobs, said a release of Time to Change.

Andy Harley, 37, worked for six years as a business analyst for a bank, until he developed depression and gave up work for a year to get better. He undertook 150 interviews before he could get another job.

Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, which commissioned the survey, said: We need to be able to have a discussion about mental health problems in the workplace, and to put an end to discriminatory attitudes that prevent capable people from working.

The survey was evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London.