“Running a Race with Legs That Don’t Work”: Mental Illness and the Experience of Seeking Employment
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Individuals with mental illness face higher than average rates of unemployment and unemployment is associated with adverse effects. Job seeking can be difficult for individuals with mental illness as they often face stigma and other barriers. The aim of this study was to understand the experience of job seeking for individuals with mental illness. This thesis used a phenomenological methodology to explore this experience. Eleven individuals with mental illness were recruited to participate in interviews about their experiences of seeking employment. Themes included barriers to seeking employment, negative experiences associated with job seeking, the issue of disclosure, the importance of work and supports. Many of the barriers identified in this study have been identified before which leads to the question of why they continue to persist. Despite facing many barriers, individuals with mental illness want to find work. Work may even hold special meaning for individuals with mental illness.