The Illusion of Inclusion

Call Me “Crazy”

Workplace Inclusion and Employment Initiatives are Missing the Mark

While progress has been made in attaining an authentically “inclusive society,” many roadblocks continue to hinder our success…especially with respect to individuals with mental “impairments.”

Despite growing concern about mental illness and its impact on society, the majority of workplace inclusion and employment initiatives are missing the mark.  Sponsors and philanthropists presume to comprehend the challenges their beneficiaries face.  They fail to “include” these DIVERSE individuals throughout the development process, as they “attempt” to formulate practical strategies designed to reduce stigma, ensure inclusion, and increase employment prospects for ALL types of MINDS.

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Given the state of affairs, it is NOT hard to conclude that it is the politicians, human resource professionals, career counselors, social service workers, advocates, and “philanthropists,” who…despite good intentions, are out of touch with reality.”  While companies proclaim their interest in supporting, and promoting inclusion for individuals with disabilities, they typically favor those who do NOT reveal a mental difference…despite the fact that many of the potential employees with mental challenges are extremely persistent, well-educated, and may demonstrate intellectual strengths, which surpass the “majority.” 

Should individuals with mental disorders be any less entitled to “meaningful” careers than those with only “physical” disabilities?  Should those with a “physical” disability, which triggers a mental “illness” be less deserving of a chance to create a meaningful and productive life?

Diversity and inclusion programs often have blind spots, are limited in scope, and contradict the messages expressed by parallel special interest groups.  An approach, which addresses the “big picture,” and abandons our tendency to generalize (based on labels), is necessary to ensure hope for the future for those challenged by brain “differences.”

What IS “Crazy” is…

The prevalence of “Misguided Diversity Programs” 

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Roadblocks deterring successful inclusion…

1.  Diversity Programs Lack Comprehensive Inclusion Initiatives  man with keys gray

2.  Disclosure is too risky for most man with keys gray

3.  The ADA reinforces stigma and disability man with keys gray

4.  Labels – inconsistency, generalization, and identity man with keys gray

5.  Conflicting Campaigns Reinforce Stigma man with keys gray

6.  “Unconscious Bias” needs to be addressed man with keys gray

7.  Trainers Lack Expertise – One size does NOT fit all  man with keys gray

8.  Adults with Disorders may require Social Skill Remediation   man with keys gray

9.  Integration of psychologists is necessary to ensure discrete
“SUPPORTED” employment

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10. Affordable Healthcare is NOT affordable for many man with keys gray

11. Discrimination is inherent in Supported Employment  man with keys gray

12. The façade of Philanthropy – Driven by ROI and profit man with keys gray

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

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© October 2015

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