Can Patients with Psychosis go to Work?

Work maintains people’s participation in society. Even though patients may encounter difficulties in finding a job, we should encourage patients to overcome difficulties and lead a fruitful life.

People with a history of mental disorder may experience the following difficulties when looking for a job.
Possible Difficulties Solutions
Patients with more experience in working may think their current job is low-paid and less respected compared to their previous jobs.   Some patients (especially with high education) may think salary and job nature do not meet their standards, being frustrated and daunted. Besides, side effects of medication may lead to tiredness and difficulty in concentrating, undermining working performance. Therefore, families and friends should listen to patients’ job expectations and plans, and provide opinions and encouragement. If the expectation is over-high, we can help them adjust their working expectations. 
Unable to account for the “gap year”. Some patients feel reluctant to reveal to employers that they suffered from psychosis. We can strike a balance between privacy and needs in mental health, before deciding whether to reveal to the employers the illness history. 
Teenagers who lack working experience deficit in self-knowledge, interview skills, working experience and knowledge of employment market. Consequently, they give up easily.  Many non-governmental organizations offer career counselling and vocational training, etc. Besides, we can establish short-term and long-term goals which are realistic and concrete. Short-term goals include refining personal resume, sending 3 cover letters each month, completing a certificate course within half a year, etc. Long-term goals include successfully finding a job, and doing that job for at least a year. Establish reasonable goals in concerted effort help patients work towards their goals. 
Returning to work may bring pressure to patients Psychosis may undermine patients’ confidence. Patients may heighten self-expectations. In addition, the work may not provide instant rewards. These factors bring pressure and displeasure to returning to work. Therefore, families should encourage patients to appreciate themselves, meanwhile treat themselves well and equip themselves. They should also encourage patients to talk over their problems.

We can encourage patients to participate in voluntary services or part-time work, so that they can polish up their social skills, bolster confidence, develop personal interests and enhance coping skills for finding better jobs in the future. For sure, everyone’s path is different. Not everyone’s goal is to find an ideal job which is generally acknowledged to be good, but some may want mindfulness and wellness in life. 

Meanwhile, under the influence of the symptoms, some patients are not ready for work, such as those who show lack of motivation and interest in social life. The symptoms are caused by psychosis, but owning to its ambiguous nature, families and friends may mistakenly attribute patients’ behaviours to their personalities and attitudes, misjudging that the patients are lazy, uneager to improve themselves and make changes. Thus, they may blame the patients wrongly. In fact, it is unwise to urge them to return to work, as undue pressure hampers recovery.