October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and as a company that focuses on mental health, we want to shine a light on some of the invisible disabilities that can affect people in the workplace.
Invisible disabilities are disabilities that cannot be seen just by looking at someone. Some common examples include mental health conditions, chronic pain, learning disabilities, and neurodevelopmental disorders.
It is important to support people with invisible disabilities because they often face unique challenges. For example, they may be misunderstood by others, or they may have difficulty finding accommodations in the workplace or in other areas of their lives.
How to create a more inclusive workplace for people with invisible disabilities
There are a number of things that employers can do to create a more inclusive workplace for people with invisible disabilities. Here are a few tips:
- Educate yourself and your colleagues about invisible disabilities. This will help to create a more understanding and supportive environment.
- Create a supportive and inclusive environment. This means fostering a culture of respect and acceptance and being mindful of the needs of all employees.
- Be flexible and accommodating. This may involve providing things like flexible work arrangements, accessible meeting spaces, or assistance with tasks.
- Encourage employees to share their needs. Let employees know so that they feel comfortable coming to you if they need accommodations or support.
Resources for supporting invisible disabilities
There are a number of resources available to support people with invisible disabilities. Here are a few examples:
- Mental health and employee assistance programs: Programs like your Employee Assistance Program can provide confidential counseling and support to employees with mental health conditions.
- Disability advocacy groups: These groups can provide information and support to people with invisible disabilities and their families.
- Government resources: There are a number of government agencies that offer resources and support to people with disabilities.
Trusted resources for learning more about disability employment
There are a number of trusted groups and sources that can provide more information on disability employment and National Disability Employment Month. Here are a few examples:
- U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP): ODEP is the lead federal agency for disability employment policy. Their website has a wealth of information on disability employment, including resources for employers, employees, and job seekers.
- National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM): NDEAM is a national campaign that recognizes the contributions of workers with disabilities and encourages employers to hire and retain people with disabilities. The NDEAM website has information on the history of NDEAM, resources for employers and employees, and a calendar of events.
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN): JAN is a free service that provides information and advice on job accommodations to employers and employees. JAN’S website has a searchable database of job accommodations, as well as articles and other resources on disability employment.
- Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): EARN is a free service that provides information and resources to employers on disability inclusion. EARN’s website has information on disability laws and regulations, best practices for hiring and retaining people with disabilities, and a directory of disability-owned businesses.
- Disability:IN: Disability:IN is a national nonprofit organization that works to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. Disability:IN’s website has information on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, resources for employers and employees, and a directory of disability-owned businesses.
Supporting people with invisible disabilities is important for creating a more inclusive and equitable society. Employers can play a vital role in this by educating themselves and their colleagues, creating a supportive and inclusive environment, and being flexible and accommodating.