People with mental illnesses may not be able to speak out against “stigma” when we face real discrimination.

I’ve renewed my driver’s license in two states in the last year (because I moved after the initial renewal). Both states included inquiries about whether I had a mental illness as part of the license renewal process.

I’ve applied for a job with a company that held federal contracts. The OMB form about disability, which is supposed to be used post-employment, was part of the pre-hire application packet. More than a quarter of the listed “disabilities” were simply mental health diagnoses.

It is very intimidating for someone who has had a career (and a diagnosis) for more than 30 years to face these kinds of questions when applying for a job or driver’s license. And this is new.

So I would say genuine discrimination against people with mental illness is on the rise. Which makes “speaking out” against “stigma” riskier than ever.

Advertisements