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June 15, 2005
Working, Schizophrenia & Buddies
Read more... Schizophrenia Coping
Buddy system at work
Recently, in reference to an article out of Australia, we addressed the unemployment problem people with psychiatric disabilities experience: namely, that companies are less likely to hire people with mental disorders because they perceive them as being incapable of holding down a job. A newer article discusses one possible solution to this problem: a buddy system. A PhD student at the University of Western Sydney "has concluded a year-long study pairing 40 non-disabled people aged 18-35 with people living with mental illness and intellectual disability." And as a result of his study, Robbie Llyod thinks that the Federal Government should implement a buddy system for the disabled. His group of participants "met each fortnight, shared thoughts and recorded journals in the hopes of providing an insight into the needs, thoughts and feelings of people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness."
Some of the pairings did not stay the distance but Mr Lloyd said the successful ones provided a peer support community for people who felt they could only turn to medical experts for assistance. "If the Government is serious about getting people off (the disability pension) then they could consider implementing support systems like this at work," Mr Lloyd said."They want to work but they can't get jobs because employees have too many prejudices about people with life challenges.
Mr. Lloyd, a former teacher and journalist, became interested in mental disorders when his son was diagnosed with schizophrenia seven years ago. He states, "Sharing life stories and helping each other is the key to self-help rehabilitation. (...) They've formed their own 'tribe' of equals which accept without judgment and stigma."
Though Mr. Lloyd's "buddy system" seems like it would be beneficial for some, it's important to consider the possible negative effects of such a program. A government forced "buddy system" for the mentally and intellectually disabled might raise issues of prejudice and stigma. "Normal" people may perceive such disabled people incapable of working on their own without a support system. How might this impact people with these disabilities currently working on their own without a support system? Further, this story is focused on Australia, but the issue of unemployement for the psychiatrically disabled is evident in many countries.
Provided By Manly Daily:
To read our past story addressing the issue of unemployment:
Posted by Laura at June 15, 2005 08:05 PM
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