Thinking About Work
How does work affect my family member’s quality of life?
When expectations are low, it is more likely that the family member will accomplish less. (Mitchell) Low expectations are common in persons who have mental health conditions. People who care about them don’t want to “rock the boat” or take risks. This leads to the lack of encouragement to try new things. A person with a psychiatric disability may choose not to work because of their fear of failure. This can come from internalized stigma (low expectations for self) or fear that they will lose health benefits.
Family and friends may see progress in the person once s/he starts working. You might notice your family member trying to be on time every day and meeting the goals of the job. As a worker the “person” emerges from that label of mental illness.
Your family member who is working may feel better about themselves. Your loved one may feel more confident about money concerns. (Mueser)
The longer someone works, the more likely s/he will be interacting with others on a daily basis. Employment is linked with increased quality of life as well as income. The reliance on and cost of mental health services usually goes down when the person is employed. (Mueser; Bush; Harding)
Connect-Ability, Department of Rehabilitation Services of Connecticut lists the advantages of work.