When you apply for a job do you tell about illness

K

Kelly B

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#1
I have not been in the workforce for a very long time but that might change very soon. So, do I tell my prospective employer that I have bipolar disorder or not?
 
melonino

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#2
Hello Kelly, how are you?
In my case I haven't told my employer about my disorder yet, and I've been working for a year now, but I might do it some day.

Maybe, If you're going to therapy, you should consider asking your doctor how to come across that conversation first, ask for advice, and then you take the decision. Being open about it shouldn't be a problem, because we're able to work as anyone else and keep a relatively normal life, but sadly mental illnesses are still highly stigmatized now a days. I haven't told my boss because I'm scared he'll treat me diferently, but in the other hand I'm a good employee and he shouldn't be worried.
I feel conflicted with this topic, to be honest. But no matter what, you'll make the right choice.
Have a nice one! (and congratulations on your new job by the way!)
 
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Kelly B

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#3
Hi melonino. Thank you for your response. I’m a little worried that if I say anything, I may be passed over for the job. I wouldn’t be surprised if the job application asks if you have a mental illness. (We are like the Amish here...shunned). I’m conflicted. I have a psych appointment coming up. I’m going to take your advice and see what he says. If there does happen to be a little box on the job application, I may need to lie. I don’t want to do that.
 
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philips

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#4
I don't think they're allowed to ask you outright if you have a mental illness, I think they need to ask if you consider yourself to have a disability instead so you wouldn't necessarily have to lie on the application but it's definitely something to talk to your doctor about, especially since they'll probably ask in interviews why you've had a career break. What you tell them is entirely up to you though and you could say you were raising children or looking after a relative if you're worried about it.

Hope the job search goes well!
 
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Kelly B

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#5
The career break is easy to explain. I’ve been a stay at home mom since my daughter was born. I can also play the sympathy card because my husband works for GM and is one of the workers losing his job. I just hope I don’t crack under pressure during an interview.
 
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philips

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#6
Sorry to hear about your husband, hopefully he'll find something else before long

I wouldn't worry too much about it, they aren't allowed to ask in depth questions if you do decide to declare it on the application and then they're only allowed to ask about adjustments you might need. This is probably something you need to talk to your doctor about when you're deciding what to do, like will you need breaks at certain times times to take medication, would flexible working be a good idea and so on, you'll also be able to talk through different types of jobs and what possible triggers there might be as part of them and how you'd get around them. Remember if the question is about whether you consider yourself to have a disability, you haven't done anything wrong if you say no. If further down the line you have an episode and need some time off, you haven't violated any terms of employment unless they explicitly ask about mental health.

If you decide not to declare it chances are you won't be pressed too hard on it, plenty of people take time off work to raise their children so it won't raise any eyebrows. A lot of people in the workforce have mental health problems and their employers are none the wiser.
 
megirl

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#7
I have the same issue.
Yesterday I rang my boss from the ward I worked on 6 years ago if he was ok about being a referee, as I left due to my mental health and not coping,it became a bit awkward for my boss as he was supporting me knew I had bipolar,then I started making the odd error,it was hard for him seeing me go but it was his responsibility to acknowledge my errors etc
So anyway I rang him and he said he was more than happy to be my referee, he said no he didn't need to tell them the extent of my illness,he would say I left because of illness.
I think it just depends,but anyway I did tell my potential employer I left due to stress and o chose to leave because of I'll health.
And that is what I told them anyway.
No they can't discriminate.
 
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Tabby120

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#8
If you believe that you need immediate accommodations to do the job, then you must disclose that you are disabled before you are actually hired (you do not have to specify what the disability is).

Here is the EEOC's information on employment rights.
The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability

Here is an excellent site for learning about the types of accommodations you might need.
Job Accommodation Network

I reveal I am disabled during the job interview because I ask for time off for routine medical appointments "for treatment of disability" and that I can have problems handling stress and may need extra breaks. I have not had a lot of job interviews in the past few years, and maybe it cost me one job, but I landed two other jobs after mentioning it and mentioning accommodations at the interview.
 
megirl

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#9
That reminds me on my application it says do you have a disability or illness that affected your work in the past and illness that can effect yr work now. So I said yes I have in the past,and with medication and outside support I have been well for an extended period.
You can say I have regular appointments due to my health.
It depends I guess.
Hope that helps
 
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Tabby120

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#10
There's a form now on all the job applications that I've been filling out the past couple years, I think it's a federal form since everyone has it worded the same, it simply asks "yes" "no" or "I don't want to disclose" if you have a disability. No specifying, just yes/no.
 
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Kelly B

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#11
Thank you everyone for all of your input and information. I mean, I shouldn’t have to worry about it at all. feels like it’s just another way mental illness comes around to bite you in the ass. Applying for and maintaining a job. A low stress job. A stocking shelves job. (I know megirl would agree.) Then there’s the thought in the back of my mind that it could be a trigger. Mental illness leaves no part of our lives untouched, does it? Well, once the time comes I will certainly let all of you know how it went. Again, thank you. 😊
 
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Tabby120

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#12
Every job has its stresses. The key is finding out what is minimal stress for you. I have more trouble with people stress than I do with performance stress so my ideal job has me dealing with few people. (Of course that's not what I'm working now, it's the opposite.) I also find a stable routine soothing, so a job with the same expected tasks and few surprises would also go towards what works best for my brain. It doesn't have to be stocking shelves, it could be data entry, it could be IT/computer security, it could be an electrician, it could be an electrical engineer.
 
megirl

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#13
Indeed the less stress the better. We absolutely need to put our health first.
I know it does effect everything.
I know that's in the back of my brain can I maintain it?
Its just a matter of taking things slowly if you could start on a couple of days and build up slowly rather than rushing into something full time.
I dont think I could do that.
Baby steps
Be kind to yourself x
 
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Kelly B

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#14
Oh the timing...my husband Pat just got home from work with the official notice of the upcoming layoff. May 4th...that gives me a little time to get used to the idea I guess.
 
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Tabby120

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#15
Allow yourself a bit of time and indulgence to grieve the loss of your family setup. Sounds silly, but there will be sadness and pain and regret and a whole bunch of other emotions with the familiar job for your husband gone and the familiar homemaker role for yourself gone and economic and health care uncertainty and worry ahead. Losing the what was, losing the familiar, losing the comfort of the known - it's a lot. It's okay to feel grief for that loss, and to get past it you have to go through it first.
 
megirl

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#16
Do you have services where you live, that you can receive support in looking for work?
We have a free service here where if you have an illness or disability they can support you in finding a job
 
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Tabby120

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#17
Good point.

@Kelly B Contact your state employment commission, my state's employment commission has everything from an active list of job openings for several private businesses and government agencies to resume writing help and interview coaching. Also check your department of rehabilitative services, while it's doubtful you will qualify for immediate direct aid they probably have some employment resources that they can refer you to.
 
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Kelly B

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#18
Do you have services where you live, that you can receive support in looking for work?
We have a free service here where if you have an illness or disability they can support you in finding a job
Apparently I do. I would have no problem finding a job...there’s plenty available. It’s getting past the mental illness hurdle. Wondering how I’m going to react during an interview or how I’ll do at a job. I’m going to take the advice of starting out part time. No need to jump in the deep end right off the bat, right? Yeah...I think I’ll take it slow.
 
megirl

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#19
Absolutely, that way you'll be able to build up your confidence as well.
 
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myjourney2

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#20
Don't tell them!

I know in many country they can't discriminate by law, but they will come up with another excuse to fire you. I haven't had it happen to myself, but a friend mentioned to his employer about his mental illness and his employer terminated him a short time later with some stupid excuse. It could be coincidence but I doubt it. There really are a lot of people who still discriminate on these kind of things, so be careful who you tell.
 
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