Healthy Mind, Healthy Career: Employment Considerations and Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, each year, one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness. While a mental health condition can present obstacles, there are ways to accommodate the situation and remain on the path towards a successful and fulfilling career.

As quoted on the website for Mental Health America, the first step is determining what type of work you are interested in doing. What is your preferred work environment? What are the hours, responsibilities and expectations of the job? If the answers to these questions leave you feeling uneasy or overwhelmed, you may need to re-evaluate and find options that are suitable to your likes, dislikes, abilities, capabilities and energy level. Below are various options to consider if you or a loved one is one of the many Americans suffering with a mental health issue:

  • Volunteering – Volunteering is a great way to help others and give back to your community. Many people enjoy the sense of satisfaction it brings to donate their time and services for the good of others. While you won’t receive a wage for volunteering, there are other benefits. Volunteering helps you gain professional experience, boost your resume and your confidence, build your network and opens up future career opportunities.


  • Internships/Externships – Although typically unpaid, some internships/externships offer an hourly wage or stipend. The time commitment can range from weeks to months and they can provide a valuable combination of education and work experience.


  • Temporary Employment – Temp assignments can vary in length and may often lead to a permanent position. A temporary job can help you fill a gap in your resume if you are between jobs, afford you the opportunity to learn new skills and strengthen already existing ones and help you determine if you are ready to return to a permanent job.


  • Part-time Employment – If you need time to care for yourself or need time off to accommodate a treatment plan, this may be the work choice for you. It is also a good way to successfully transition back to full-time employment.


  • Full-time Employment – Many people with mental health conditions can continue to work full-time without it impacting their daily work. They find their work meaningful professionally and socially.


If you are experiencing career-impacting mental health issues, contact your program manager for more information on the various levels of service available to you through the Trust and through private insurance.