Thinking About Work


Will working cause my family member to relapse?

You may worry that employment will involve too much stress for your family member or may lead to relapse. Someone can have a mental health crisis or relapse whether s/he is working or not. If the person is having problems with managing their mental health, acute mental health problems could occur but they may or may not be related to employment. In many cases, teaching the worker coping skills and assertiveness can reduce or eliminate some of the stress. Typically work does not cause relapse.

The employee should always have a wellness plan, such as WRAP, in place to help guide decisions about how to stay physically and mentally healthy, including times when things are very difficult at work. Sometimes there are early warning signs of mental health difficulties or feelings of being overwhelmed. This does not mean one has to quit the job but it might suggest extra support of even a time out of the job. Here the family can be helpful. The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a tool to help identify one’s goals, the type of help needed, steps to take and what will happen when the person cannot safely make a decision.

If someone is having work related stress, an Employment Specialist (vocational rehabilitation professional generally working in a rehabilitation or mental health program) can work as a consultant to the employer to make some modifications to the work environment or change the type of supervision. This can at times solve the problem. In some situations the pressures are too much and it may be time to try a different job or a new employer. Below are some resources for your family member. In some cases you and your family member might utilize them together.

DBSA Personal Wellness Toolkits

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) has developed this variety of tools that can help people in recovery improve and maintain their wellbeing.


The 6 Reasons You’ll get that Job

Elisabeth (Harney) Sanders-Park’s book discusses the job-search & hiring processes from the employer’s perspective. Namely four ways to prove a candidate has what an employer wants, six tools to avoid being screened-out, & strategies for people with barriers to employment.


Wellness Self-Management Workbook

The WSM workbook consists of 57 lessons organized into three major chapters addressing recovery, mental health wellness and relapse prevention, and the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and recovery.


Wellness Self-Management Plus

The WSM+ workbook is a version of the original WSM workbook that has been designed for individuals who are simultaneously dealing with mental health and substance use problems.


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