Risking Employment with an MH Challenge

In mid-October I will start a series of blog entries linked to the employment talk I’m going to give at the 2016 NAMI-New York State Educational Conference in Albany, NY.

October is also Disability Employment Awareness Month in the U.S. I was trained on job search strategies for people with disabilities about five years ago in October.

In 2004 and 2005 I was also a guest panelist at the NAMI-New York State Educational Conference for those years.

Back then a NAMI staff member had asked me why I thought so many consumers don’t want to go to work. What was the seduction to collecting SSI or SSDI forever? he wanted to know.

He was confounded because in New York State the Medicaid Buy-In allows people with MH conditions to earn up to $44K and keep their Medicaid by buying into the public health system even though they’re employed.

Did I have an answer then and do I have an answer now?

Once years after I talked with that guy I gave a talk at an outpatient mental health clinic. The director was upset that her patients there didn’t want to work. Again it was a mystery how most people didn’t want to work at a job.

As the Health Guide at HealthCentral for close to nine years I had access to the latest research studies on MH conditions like schizophrenia. One study indicated that people who have schizophrenia in some way have a faulty reward system and they’re not motivated this way the way people without this MH condition are.

It makes sense to me that most of all a person with limited experiences in life and limited competencies just starting out in recovery might fear taking risks even though the rewards could be greater.

This is a judgment-free blog so I won’t delve into the idea that a person might simply not want to work or is incapable of working. That could be true in some instances yet not for everyone. Whatever one person chooses to do is their right and they shouldn’t be judged for the choices they make.

In here now I want to present an alternative view:

How embracing failure and taking risks IS necessary to grow as a person and be healthy living life in recovery and in just plain living life–regardless of whether a person has an MH challenge.

My next blog entry will be titled Embracing Failure.

My intuition tells me that  a lot of people simply fear failing and not succeeding and in some cases fear failing and making a fool of themselves.

On Monday I will talk in detail about embracing failure as the prelude to risking success.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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