Okay, not for all jobs, but it apparently helps in academia. There’s a really interesting article in The Guardian: For academic researchers, mental illness can be an advantage . According the article, “hiring of users of mental-health services are increasingly becoming a trend in academic circles. The “service-user perspective” is becoming recognized as an added value to certain research. “Your CV has gone from being patchy, with lots of gaps, to being interesting and full of potential,” says Debbie Mayes, a Lancaster University researcher and grant-holder on a £2m study into psychological approaches to bipolar disorder funded by the National Institute for Health Research.
The whole article was just fascinating and insightful. It was also very much of interest to me because of my status as a graduate student and that I have written papers in the past where I did utilize my “service-user perspective.” But I’m just that: a student. I never really thought about how one’s ‘out’ status as a mental-health service user may (positively) influence one’s potential employment. But is having a mental illness something you’d want to disclose early in your career? The careers highlighted in this article all dealt with mental illness. So, could this advantage apply outside of the field? Obviously, one would have to be a good researcher to begin with to get these jobs, but unless you were good at what you do, I feel like having disclosed your condition may tacitly become a negative.