Disclosure of mental illness during the recruitment process

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Dowling, Miriam
Issue Date
MBA in Human Resource Management
Dublin Business School
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Background: Employment is often a key component of recovery, but those with mental illness are much less likely to be in work. While there are various supports for those already in employment, those seeking to enter the workforce face the dilemma of whether or not to disclose their mental illness to a potential employer. The aim of this research is to find out if disclosing a mental illness to a potential employer or employment agency in Ireland is detrimental to the applicants’ chances of successfully being appointed to the advertised position. The research question is: Disclosure of mental illness during the recruitment process in Ireland – Is honesty the best policy? Method: A qualitative approach, conducting nine in-depth interviews with HR professionals, who are members of CIPD. Results: The majority of respondents, while aware as HR professionals of the Employment Equality Act, there was heavy reliance on HR to advise Conclusion: While mental health is being discussed more openly in society, it appears that in the majority of cases, the conversation does not pass the front door of businesses. Mental illness is seen as an expensive to the business, which they wish to avoid. The positive attributes that person could bring to a role, is not considered. Even though research shows through cost/benefit analysis the clear financial benefits to dealing with mental health, the connection is yet to be made by business.