Education, Communication, Respect

The following resources can be used to guide employers, human resource professionals, managers, and colleagues, along with the employees who struggle with mental disorders. The links lead to a range of topics including: best practices for inclusion; the complex issue of disclosure; invisible challenges of individual disorders; and suggestions pertaining to reasonable accommodations.


  • Marching Beyond Compliance – Sponsored by The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)  
  • Why diversity is upside down: Andrés Tapia at TEDxIndianapolis – Diversity is a good thing, “if” it is managed well.  We need to think of diversity in a multidimensional way.  Inclusion is a skill, not an attitude.  
  • Inclusion, Exclusion, Illusion and Collusion: Helen Turnbull at TEDx – Unconscious Bias, global inclusion and diversity.  
Stigma & Labels
Disclosure and Accommodations
What Employers and Politicians Need to Know
  • Mental Health at Work – Something’s Not Right – (PTSD, Bipolar, Military, Veteran) – Rehumanizing the workplace – stigma, peer, support, stigma, addiction. – The Agenda with Steve Paikin  
  • Mental illness and the workplace – CBC – Newfoundland  
  • Supervisor Tips: Understanding the Stigma of Mental Illness – Community Health Charities  
  • The Workplace – Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – Disclosure, employment gaps, 2014 Education Program  
  • Software company hires autistic adults for specialized skills – Google, genome data, SAP software, Asperger’s, skills, intelligence, memory, social skills, stress, patterns, repetitive, detail, quality control, testing, data analysis, talent, clear goals, direct communication, empathy, Autism Speaks, Thorkil Sonne, Jose Velasco – CBS News  
  • Adults with ADHD: What Do We Know? What Do They Need? – organization, time management, late, context, attention span, interest deficit, focus, impulsivity, social skills, cutting people off during conversations, panel discussion following the documentary “A Mind Like Mine.”  
  • Honoring the stories of illness – Humanity lesson from a medical professional – Understanding the meaning in the narratives of others, clarity and understanding gained when we “listen;” letting go of judgment – Dr. Rita Charon at TEDxAtlanta  
  • Educating the Whole Child and Adult with Emotional Literacy – Social Emotional Learning (SEL) – Marc Brackett – Attention and learning, decision making, relationships, mental and physical health.  Self-regulation, strategies to manage our emotional lives.  Emotional Literacy Training. 
  • Better Is Not Well 2014 – When a person is out of immediate risk and able to function in most day-to-day activities, the assumption is often made that treatment success has been achieved.  Further steps are necessary to facilitate complete well-being.  While the person’s condition may have improved greatly, they are still living with residual symptoms of their condition and/or not living to their full potential.  When people are better, co-occurring conditions are more likely, and there is greater risk of suicide.  Time for ongoing treatment is necessary to achieve wellness. 
  • Understanding Agitation: Personal Stories – Agitation is a state of unease accompanied by excessive talking and/or unintentional and purposeless motions, like wringing the hands or pacing. It manifests in a broad spectrum.  People with mood disorders may be more disposed to experiencing agitation. This video illustrates the way agitation impacts life, provides tips and information on supporting and treating an individual experiencing agitation, and identifies wellness strategies that have helped peers live successfully. 
Training and Development
  • Understanding the Social World, What We Don’t Know We Know, and Why Individuals with Autism Appear to Speak a Different Language– Context, Semantics, Communication, and Collaboration.  Meeting in the Middle.  Susan Ehlerman Brennan works with individuals with social cognitive challenges, their families, and professionals to foster dynamic communication, build awareness of cognitive differences (vs. deficits), and encourage interest & strength-based supports.  While created to address adolescent challenges, this video provides valuable insight into some of the perceptual differences of adults on the spectrum, along with the “neurotypicals” we interact with on a daily basis. 
Tools for Employee Success
  • Why Smart People Underperform – tips for employees – Marie Forleo with Dr. Ed Hallowell  
  • Mental Illness in the Workplace – Tips for Employees – Community Health Charities  
  • Dual Diagnosis – Addiction, Drug and Alcohol, Anxiety, PTSD, self-medicating, suicidal thoughts, relationships, support groups, abuse – Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – 2014 Education Program  
  • Dr. Edward Hallowell on adult Attention Deficit Disorder – brain, creativity, energy, intuition, think outside of the box, independence, persistence, tenacity, not a deficit, focus, symptoms of Adult ADHD, ADD, compensation, risk, impulsivity, personality or disorder, organization, distraction, distract, underachieve, forgetful, smart, frustration, medication, Ritalin, Stimulant, Bipolar, Depression, anxiety, learning disability, dyslexia, co-existing, addiction, genetic, dopamine, manic, adrenaline, violent, creative, gift, entrepreneur, exercise, diagnosis, treatment, strengths, talents, weaknesses, self- esteem, confidence, motivation, drug companies, omega-3, fish oil – Allan Gregg Conversation.  
  • Jeff Bell: When in Doubt, Make Belief 1/2  Jeff Bell: When in Doubt, Make Belief 2/2 – obsessive compulsive disorder, lessons from this so-called “doubting disease;” confronting fear and worry.
  • Treating Depression via the Immune System: Dr. Scott Russo – Scott Russo, Ph.D. explains the ties his lab has discovered between immune system health, inflammation and depression, about hopes to clinically test potential antidepressant drugs based on these principles, and about his upcoming study of intestinal bacteria and their influence on mental health. 
  • Fears and Prejudices About ADHD – Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., symptoms, diagnosis, impairment, focus, medication, adults, inattention, social impact, depression, comorbidity, addiction, label with ADHD or apparent symptoms lead to labels from others, chemistry of brain, reading problems, organization, working memory, hyperactivity, inherited, variation, priorities, accommodations, time, tutor, behavior, interventions, tools, drug use, task analysis, directions, assessment, history, motivation, dopamine, norepinephrine. 
  • Self-guided Discovery Application Process – information on how to use Discovery, an alternative assessment tool proven to identify the strengths of job seekers with and without disabilities, to discover personal employment goals. Presented by the LEAD Center, a collaborative of disability, workforce and economic empowerment organizations led by National Disability Institute with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office on Disability Employment Policy; dedicated to advancing sustainable individual and systems level change to improve competitive, integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency for adults across the spectrum of disabilities. 
Creativity and Mental Illness
  • Connecting strength and vulnerability of the creative brain – Why have so many creative minds suffered from mental illness? The physical differences in the brains of writers and other highly accomplished individuals are explored. – 80% of great writers had mood disorders within their families, along with a high degree of creativity – they teach themselves (autodidacts), are extremely persistent even in the face of rejection, many deep interests, rather than one. Mentally individuals can be hugely successful if they receive accommodations that match their educational style.  Nancy Andreasen, Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa, has devoted decades of study to the physical differences in the brains of writers and other highly accomplished individuals – PBS NewsHour
  • “The Surprising Link Between Suffering & Success” – Talks at Google. Lee Daniel Kravetz, David B Feldman – Supersurvivors – Bounce back and bounce forward. Trauma, hope, positive psychology. Post traumatic growth.  Grounded Hope. Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT).  Perception of support, values, rules.  Some say, “I feel like I’ve lived through the worst thing I could possibly imagine, nothing else is scary.  Now I am willing to take risks, I can handle anything.” 
  • That Good Feeling of Control – TEDxStudioCityED – Cheryl Arutt, PsyD – Exploring Self-Regulation, Trauma and Creativity – self-regulation as the basis for mental health, how trauma disrupts this, and ways new technology and discoveries are creating exciting opportunities to teach, learn and treasure what one self-regulation pioneer referred to as “that good feeling of control.”  Neuroscience, Freud, faith, dysregulation,  brain, fight or flight 
  • Epidemic of Acquiescence excerpt – from Alfie Kohn – compliance and obedience, maybe the rules not justified, good individuals are those eager to please those in authority.  Perhaps the real cause for concern is those who fail to question, think critically, respond with appropriate measure of independent thought, and question authority.  Silent epidemic of obedience.  Successful socialization.  Reflective rebelliousness.  
  • Becoming a mad scientist with your life – Todd Kashdan at TEDxUtrecht – Creativity,  anxiety, self-doubt, curiosity, Self-criticism, relationships, explore, evolve.  Value of uncomfortable feelings.  Cutting  edge science to help people function optimally in business and life.  Strategies for cultivating happiness and meaning in life, a better understanding of psychological strengths and how to best use them, a better capacity to tolerate pain and uncertainty, psychological flexibility, and finding fulfillment in relationships, work.  Don’t be an “expert.” 
  • The big secret nobody wants to tell – Bruce Muzik – TEDxSinCity – Withholding secrets can have a devastating impact on our lives and what to do about it.  How to experience unprecedented freedom and happiness, through being Authentic. 
Personal Stories of Success and Inspiration
  • Profiles of Hope – General Hospital actor, Maurice Benard, talks about living with bipolar disorder – produced bLos Angeles County Department of Mental Health 
  • Am I still Autistic? John Hall – TEDxManhattanBeach  
  • Brad Cohen – Tourette’s Syndrome – Award Speech – Teacher, Assistant Principle
  • How we suppress genius and create learning disability – labels, dyslexia, adhd, learning style, injustice, Tedx  
  • “Back From the Edge” – Borderline Personality Disorder – New York Presbyterian Hospital  
  • Choose strength not shame: Ben Foss – TEDxSonomaCounty 
  • Chiara de Blasio Tells Her Story – Mayor De Blasio’s Daughter Reveals Substance Abuse.   Recovery from depression, anxiety and substance enabled her to participate in her father’s Mayoral campaign.  Mr. de Blasio’s father was an alcoholic who battled depression.  Her mother, Chirlane McCray, had been a child of parents struggling with depression.  Alchoholism and drug addition are diseases.  People are suffering.  We can’t do anything as a society until we start talking about it.  Be honest, open, and willing. 
  • Jesse Saperstein – Keeping it Kind – Jesse discusses his experience having Asperger Syndrome and empowers students to take a stand against bullying. Jesse started a campaign called “Lessons In Compassion” to combat bullying in schools.  
  • 14 Amazing Women With Autism – slideshow and Temple Grandin video. 
  • Stephen Shore – Keeping it Strong – Stephen shares his belief that a student’s strengths and interests are integral to the school experience.  He charges teachers to find creative ways to recognize and incorporate these passions.  Autism and special education.  Focus on strengths and connect them to possible areas of employment to give back to society and lead a happy and fulfilling life. 
  • Zosia Saks – Keeping it True – Autism – Spectrum of  difference among all people.  We can model for students with disabilities, and those without that these different ways of living and thinking all have value.  Diversity is a good thing.  Zosia developed a self-advocacy curriculum to help empower students to express their needs and problem solve with members of their community.  He explores sensory, regulation, and communication differences and teaches three “action steps” for students to advocate for themselves. 

Be Counted!  Illuminate Mental Diversity at Work.
There is safety (AND strength) in numbers. “All for one, and one for all.”

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© October 2015


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