In the November 15, 2010 issue of the Huffington Post, Glenn Close penned an article that revealed that her sister suffers from a bipolar disorder and her nephew suffers from schizoaffective disorder. According to Close, over "57.7 million Americans - 26 percent of the country - live with a diagnosable mental illness in any given year." Close argues that because of the stigma of mental illness, many Americans never seek treatment and are discriminated against in the workplace, and that every 17 minutes, someone in our country commits suicide. According to her article, mental illness is the leading disability in the United States, and costs society over $190 billion annually.
According to the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, mental illness not only affects the ill person, but can also affect everyone around them. About one in four adults experience a mental illness in a year, which means statistically that everyone in that person's workplace will be either directly or indirectly affected at some point in their working career, or will experience an issue themselves.
There are many types of mental illness, according to the Mayo Clinic, ranging from obsessive hand washing, ongoing depression or sadness, alcohol or drug abuse, to schizophrenia or other delusional disorders. The Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation maintains that mental illness accounts for an enormous piece of the financial productivity pie in the workplace, about $105 billion worth. This includes losses due to absenteeism, presenteeism, disabilities and injuries in the workplace.
Ms. Close sites that the key to eradicating and erasing the stigma of mental illness in the workplace is education and training. For more information on her family's organization, go to http://www.bringchange2mind.org.