Lower educational attainment stems from multiple causes, but one of the most prevalent is the early onset of disabling mental health conditions, which interfere with the individual’s ability to complete his/her education (Cook, 2006; EEOC, 2011). When individuals with disabling mental disorders fail to complete the necessary education or training for a desired position, they risk losing the advantages that higher education creates, such as increasing the likelihood of landing jobs with higher pay, or jobs with more opportunities for career advancement (Cook, 2006). According to Kessler et al. (2005), nearly half of all cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24. Not surprisingly, students with mental health conditions have the highest school dropout and failure rates of any disability group (U.S. Department of Education, 2006).
Limited Access to Adequate Healthcare
There is a big concern regarding access to adequate healthcare for individuals with mental health issues (Wang, Demler, & Kessler, 2002). In a study by Wang et al. (2002), less than 1 in 6 patients with serious mental illness received treatment that was considered “minimally adequate” (p. 95). Furthermore, more than 1 in 4 adults with a mental illness and/or substance use disorder have no insurance coverage at all (NAMI, 2009). Without coverage, some people may be less likely to seek services in the event of a mental health crisis. For those who do seek services, the cost of care can create a huge financial burden (NAMI, 2009). NAMI (2009) recognized that those who remain untreated could have worsening conditions that have the potential to “overwhelm our country’s emergency departments, hospital wards, and public systems” (p. 28). While p...
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...ividuals with mental health disabilities often require a broader range of services and supports than do persons with other disabilities, such as intensive mental health services, social or behavioral support services, personal support, housing, and help with interpersonal relationships (Rutman, 1994). Fortunately, there has been progress in the form of supported employment, protective legislation, and employers recognizing the importance of mental health in the workplace. While huge strides have been made to help those living with mental illness secure employment, they still have the lowest labor force participation and lowest employment rate among all disability groups, demonstrating that employers, legislators, and service providers will need a cohesive framework in order to improve employment outcomes for this group of individuals (Waghorn, et al., 2010).
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