Inclusive Hiring Practices: Welcoming Candidates with Mental Health Conditions in the UK

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Photo Credits - Greg Rosenke via Unsplash

Inclusive hiring is an essential element for workplaces to foster an inclusive company culture. On World Mental Health Day, 10 October, we will discuss the importance of inclusive hiring processes for those with mental health conditions. 

Fostering an inclusive workplace, apart from providing adequate employee support, should also begin with inclusive hiring. Further, employers should also welcome some reasonable adjustments for employees who may need them.

Mental Health Conditions

Mental health conditions are a broad range of disorders that affect how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. They can range from mild to severe and can have a significant impact on a person’s life.

Some of the most common mental health conditions include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance use disorders

READ: Challenging Workplace Stigma: Thriving as an Employee with OCD in the Workplace

Inclusive Hiring importance on World Mental Health Day

Mental health conditions are very common in the UK. According to Mind, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. This means that there are millions of people in the UK living with mental health conditions.

Mental health conditions can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or social status. However, some groups of people are more likely to experience mental health problems than others. For example, people living in poverty, people who have experienced trauma, and people from ethnic minority groups are all at higher risk of developing mental health problems.

The Equality Act on Mental Health Conditions

The Equality Act 2010 is a law that protects people from discrimination based on protected characteristics, including disability. Mental health conditions are considered to be disabilities under the Equality Act.

This means that employers cannot discriminate against job seekers or employees based on their mental health condition. This includes discrimination in recruitment, selection, promotion, training, and dismissal.

The Importance of Inclusive Hiring Processes

Inclusive hiring is the practice of recruiting and hiring people from all backgrounds, including people with mental health conditions. Employers need to be inclusive because it allows them to tap into a wider pool of talent and find the best candidates for their roles.

People with mental health conditions can bring many valuable skills and perspectives to the workplace. They are often creative, resilient, and empathetic. They may also have valuable experience in managing their condition, which can be helpful in other areas of life, such as work.

Inclusive hiring is also beneficial for job seekers with mental health conditions. It allows them to find jobs where they are valued and respected for their skills and abilities. It can also help to reduce stigma and discrimination around mental health conditions.

Job seekers are not required to disclose their mental health condition during hiring. However, some people may choose to disclose their condition to request reasonable adjustments or to be transparent about their needs.

If you choose to disclose your mental health condition during the hiring process, it is important to do so in a way that feels comfortable for you. You may want to talk to the recruiter or hiring manager directly, or you may want to write a letter or email.

It is also important to remember that you do not have to disclose any more information than you feel comfortable disclosing. You are not required to provide medical documentation or to go into detail about your symptoms.

For employers, inclusive hiring can be done through the implementation of the following:

  • Inclusive Job Descriptions: It is important to use gender-neutral language and avoid biased terminology. Be clear and concise in your job requirements and description of the role. This will help ensure that all qualified candidates feel welcome to apply
  • “Blind” Application Reviews: Omitting identification details when reviewing applications to ensure objectivity and avoid unconscious biases.
  • Establishing Accessible Processes: Acknowledging that disability may hinder the process for some candidates, employers should keep the entire process accessible. This can be done through providing more readable content and closed captions.

READ: Managing Social Anxiety Disorder at Work: Advice for Employees

Inclusive Hiring: the Process of Reasonable Adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are changes that employers can make to the workplace or to the way they work to accommodate people with disabilities. This includes people with mental health conditions.

Some examples of reasonable adjustments that employers can make include:

  • Flexible working arrangements, such as the ability to work from home or to have reduced hours
  • A quiet place to work
  • Regular breaks
  • Support from a colleague or mentor
  • Access to mental health support services

If you need reasonable adjustments in the workplace, you should talk to your employer. They should be able to work with you to find adjustments that meet your needs and allow you to do your job effectively.

If you require advice or guidance on employment law matters, head to the Redmans website. To get in touch with our team of expert employment lawyers, click here

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