Integration – A holistic approach to mental health and disability

For two decades, workplace specialists have been trying to take a new approach and break down the silos in our workplace health, wellness and disability programming as a means to better serve employees.

Previously a mental health disability was somewhat mysterious. Detailed information was scarce and only existed with a small number of employees. Actual data was held in confidential personnel files, and in private databases of disability insurance companies. In many cases when an employee left the workplace on a disability leave for depression, trauma, or substance abuse, it was likely that an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” attitude would arise. Mental disorders were not well understood. Supervisors and managers often did not know how to respond, or the disabilities were hidden and employees made claims for physical ailments or other conditions that were less stigmatized.

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Judith Plotkin, MSW