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Mental Illness and Workplace Violence

If you or someone you know is affected with mental illness, the NAMI helpline is a great resource that will provide you with information, referrals, and support.
Despite the fact that most people living with mental illness are not violent, when violence does occur, we tend to look for any underlying mental illness and point to deficiencies in the mental health care system as places to lay blame.

Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 6–12, 2013. It presents an opportunity for leadership, supervisors, and managers as well as employees to learn more about mental illness—what it is, the stigma that goes along with it, and how we can work together to improve the lives of those affected.

Due to the stigma attached to mental illness, there is a barrier to individuals, or their families, friends, or colleagues seeking or suggesting help. It has only been within the last few years that I have started speaking to people outside my family about the mental illness that my mother and one of my brothers struggle with. I have always been concerned that if people found out that my mother was “crazy” (another stigmatizing label attached to mental illness) or that she sometimes suffers from delusions and hallucinations, it would somehow reflect negatively on me. I worried that my credibility would be diminished and I would be viewed as either a liability because of having to care for my family, or that I’d be viewed as “less than” an employee, colleague, or friend because I, too, may then be affected by mental illness. While some of you may believe that these feelings are unfounded or selfish, I can personally tell you that there is a lot of stigma and pain for those who suffer from mental illness, and for those who love them.

It’s time to make a difference for those who struggle with mental illness and are touched by its effects.

Within the next few months, CPI’s Prepare Training® program will introduce a new Topic Module called Challenged by Mental Illness at Work. The goals of this Topic Module are to raise awareness about mental illness, increase sensitivity to individuals with mental illness, build strategies relevant to people living with mental illness, and:
  • Explore assumptions and beliefs about mental illness.
  • Describe CPI’s working definition of mental illness and related terminology.
  • Discuss realities and myths about people living with mental illness.
  • Explore interventions in responding to problem situations.
  • Discuss information on referring individuals who may be experiencing a mental crisis to appropriate resources.

I’m very excited to see this module released because so many aspects of our training program have been applicable to situations I’ve faced both professionally and personally. I am fully confident that the course will give me additional understanding and methods to help me not only better serve our customer base, but also better ways to interact with and assist those I know who are affected with mental illness.

Are you ready to help make a difference too?

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