Careers do not have to be limited by serious mental illness. A study of 500 professionals, all with serious mental illness, showed that 73% had full-time employment as nurses, case managers, administrators, lawyers, professors, and chief executive offices. Twenty percent earned more than $50,000 a year. Of those in the survey, 69% increased their responsibilities since starting their current jobs; 84% took medication for their illness at the time of the study; and 64% had been hospitalized three or more times for the illness.
Job coping mechanisms were breaks, flexible duties, and flexible schedules. The goal of getting back to work helped many in their recovery. Said the supervisor of a former advisor to President Clinton, "Bob knew how to take care of himself and he knew his illness. We relied on him to be the main driver. I knew he could be counted on to do his job. I also knew that at the heart of Bob's strength was his ability to know his own limits and take his medication and to know that if he was feeling stressed he would take an hour or two off."
Said a Washington Post reporter who could not think abstractly or hold a conversation, "Performing at work is a huge boost to the self-esteem." She used medication and flexible hours to return to work.
Serious mental illnesses included bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression, and post traumatic stress disorder. For more information, contact the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Web site
This researcht was supported by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the U.S. Department of Education. #262
Ellison, M. L., & Russinova, Z. (2000). A national survey of professionals and managers with psychiatric conditions: A portrait of achievements and challenges. Boston: The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Rehabilitation.
Copyright. The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Independent Living.