The Illusion of Inclusion – Roadblock #9
Staff Psychologists are necessary for
discrete “supported” employment
and inclusion at work
Staff Psychologists and/or Social Workers
Government institutions and educational facilities typically employ psychologists and/or social workers to support employees, as well as the (non-staff) students and clients they serve. Yet few private businesses or alternate industries provide mental health services to the employees within the workplace. By serving as confidential, objective, and discrete allies; therapists can help to level the playing field for ALL employees, especially those who choose not to disclose a “mental illness” to their employers.
An EAP is an inadequate solution. While the members of the staff within an employee assistance program can recommend resources in times of crisis; they offer minimal value to employees with long term mental disorders, who are in already in recovery programs and need support within the workplace. These individuals may be “working” to avoid reaching the point of crisis. EAPs and outside therapists do not have experience within an individual’s work environment, nor do they have an understanding of the players involved. How can an outside therapist possibly provide objective feedback regarding work related conflicts, if the individuals involved do not “see,” or are not aware, that their own behavior contributes to challenging situations?
While some employees with mental disorders benefit from supported employment programs, the majority of counselors hired in the field, are typically low paid workers with minimal experience working in a for profit environment. They may have a mental disorders of their own (past service recipients), and may not be any more dependable than the clients they serve. This can be discouraging, and can limit the client’s ability to reach new goals. For those who are able to land positions through supported employment programs, and subsequently choose to disclose; services are rarely integrated within the work environment; limiting the collaboration necessary to ensure support from colleagues throughout the organization.
Be Counted! Illuminate Mental Diversity at Work.
There is safety (AND strength) in numbers. “All for one, and one for all.”
Suggestions, feedback, comments, and questions welcomed at MindingDiversity@aol.com
© October 2015