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Unemployment for people with mental illness as high as 90 percent

The figures seem shocking, especially since many people in Peachtree City know at least one person with mental illness who has very few problems at work, yet unemployment rates for people living with mental illness are disgustingly high. The highest estimate is 90 percent, but the lowest isn't that much lower, only falling to 70 percent. Certainly for some people with severe mental illness work is out of the question and disability benefits are a must, but there are others who cannot work because of stigma alone.

Fortunately for one woman living with bipolar disorder, she has managed to overcome that stigma  and has been working with a mental health services organization. She has said, however, that if she were looking for a new job and that a hiring manager knew she heard voices that she likely wouldn't be hired.

It often doesn't matter to people that individuals living with disabilities in Georgia have demonstrated great resiliency and resourcefulness, the fear that someone could "go off" is enough for many employers to not sufficiently consider applicants with mental health conditions. Sadly, the stigma of mental illness extends beyond work, too.

So, in hindsight, the fact that unemployment for people with mental health conditions is between 70 and 90 percent is not that surprising. For those people who are unable to find work because of their mental health conditions, it may be worthwhile to speak with a disability benefits attorney to see whether Social Security disability insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income may be an option.

Source: CBS News, "For those with mental illness, stigma cuts deep," Jonathan La Pook, Aug. 11, 2013

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