Learn the common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents.
Learn more about common mental health conditions that affect millions
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Call the NAMI Helpline at
Or in a crisis, text "NAMI" to 741741
At work you have to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages of being open about a mental health condition. Consider the potential negative impact on things like stigma from coworkers against your need for special accommodations, which are considered part of your civil rights. Stigma and stereotypes can also lead to discrimination. There are laws in place that protect you from discrimination and unfair practices on the job.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against job applicants and employees with disabilities. This law applies to private employers with more than 15 employees and state and local government employers. To qualify for protections under the ADA, the law states that you must be able to show:
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act) is a federal law, similar to the ADA, that applies to any agency or group that receives federal funding, including public schools, universities and even some private schools. This law protects federal government workers and employees at any of these agencies from disability discrimination.
Many states also have laws that protect employees from discrimination in the workplace.
Sometimes it's necessary to take off multiple weeks in order to cope with a psychiatric crisis.The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the event of an illness or to help care for a family member who is sick. The FMLA permits you to take a leave of absence while preserving your job placement and benefits. To qualify for FMLA, you must work a minimum of 12 months for the same employer. The FMLA only applies to employers with more than 50 employees. To learn more about the FMLA, contact the Department of Labor.
While you must be able to perform the essential tasks of your job, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations (changes made to company procedures/rules) that will help increase and maintain your job performance. Examples of accommodations include:
If you do need an accommodation, the first step is to ask. It's up to you to request an accommodation. Once you have submitted a request, an employer is required to sit down and talk with you about possible accommodations. Before you get started:
If you feel like you have been discriminated against because you live with mental illness, there are a variety of legal options available:
Call the NAMI Helpline at
text "NAMI" to 741741