Keeping a Job
What accommodations work best for people with mental health conditions?
The three main types are task (adjusting the actual work tasks); routine (adjusting the work hours/ schedule) and relationships (specific type or amount of supervision). Sometimes accommodations that work for a person with a mental health condition are the same as the ones that are used for those with physical disabilities such as type of work space or parking arrangements. The “ramps” for people with mental health conditions tend to be people in the work environment who see them as people first, not diagnoses, and who are supportive and fair at the same time. Excellent supervision and time flexibility are two of the key accommodations. Those who have multiple accommodations tend to do better.
If someone wishes to apply for accommodations s/he needs to have written certification from a physician or other licensed healthcare practitioner stating the there is a disability, how that disability limits the person and what kind of accommodations are needed. It is not necessary initially to say what the diagnosis is and for people with mental health conditions, it is probably best to leave that out. The more important requirement is statement of functional limitations and recommended accommodations. Often the physician or other clinical person will not actually know what the functional limitations are or what accommodations would be helpful. This information is best obtained through combined efforts of the employee, the family and the rehabilitation professionals involved in job retention.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) created the accommodation ideas listed below. You can contact JAN directly if you need more information beyond what has been provided.
The Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation has created this synthesis of twenty years of research on job accommodations.