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Can I be hired after being treated for depression and anxiety?

Nurse Beth   (2,051 Views 5 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

366 Likes; 10 Followers; 82 Articles; 224,984 Visitors; 1,696 Posts

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I've struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. The past few years have been rough as I have been hospitalized a few times and I have had to take medical leave a few times, so attendance record has not been great. I took the past year off to go to school and try to focus on my health. I've finally found medication that works and I have been doing much better. I am ready to go back to work but I worry I won't be able to find a job due to the past. Is there a way to approach this? Of course I wouldn't want to bring it up, but I also don't want HR to hear it from someone else. I'm not sure what to do.

Dear Worried,

I'm so glad to hear you sought help, and your treatment is working. Depression and anxiety are far more common than you realize. Although you may feel isolated, I guarantee you are not alone. There should be no more stigma attached to mental illness and disorders than there is to a broken bone or having diabetes. It's an illness like any other. There are many working nurses who are being treated or have been treated for mental health issues.

You approach looking for a job just like everyone else. You've been off work for a time with medical issues, and now you've been treated and are ready to return to work. Some people are off work for cancer treatment, others for caring for a relative, some for back injuries. You, like many others, are joining the work force again after taking care of your health.

Your employment gap does cause a challenge, but you had no choice except to take time off and focus on your health. In an interview, when asked, all you have to say is "I took time off for medical issues, and they are all resolved now. I'm ready to get back to work." Unless you are requesting accommodation for a disability, they will not enquire about the specifics of your medical condition.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

 

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

 

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billswife works as a Bedside RN.

9,755 Visitors; 508 Posts

Good advice from Nurse Beth! I would like to add that it is best to be non-specific about what your " medical problem" was, as ( unfortunately) a stigma still exists against those with mental health issues of all kinds. It shouldn't, especially in the medical field, where it should be best understood, but the stigma is real. Best of luck to you!!!!

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582 Visitors; 37 Posts

The problem is, they ask on an application if you've ever been treated for a mental illness. When doing a drug test, they also ask what medications you are currently taking and why. It is unfortunate that employers are now allowed access to our most private information. It is sickening, actually. There have been countless cases whereby people have not been hired because they have been forced to divulge this information. Not everyone is understanding about mental illness and if an employer can hire someone who does not have a mental illness, they will hire this person over one who does. Discrimination? Yes, of course. But try and prove it.

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billswife works as a Bedside RN.

9,755 Visitors; 508 Posts

The problem is, they ask on an application if you've ever been treated for a mental illness. When doing a drug test, they also ask what medications you are currently taking and why. It is unfortunate that employers are now allowed access to our most private information. It is sickening, actually. There have been countless cases whereby people have not been hired because they have been forced to divulge this information. Not everyone is understanding about mental illness and if an employer can hire someone who does not have a mental illness, they will hire this person over one who does. Discrimination? Yes, of course. But try and prove it.

100% accurate.......sadly!!

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19 Likes; 2,829 Visitors; 101 Posts

And what's even sadder is that those that have sought treatment, been treated, and continue to receive treatment (whether in the form of medication/counseling, etc.) are likely to be better staff members and caregivers than those that are not acknowledging their need for treatment, attempting self-treatment, or simply living in a state of denial regarding their need for treatment.

Very frankly, in my opinion, it is almost impossible to escape the need for some sort of treatment for depression and anxiety in this day and age. Many of us are isolated due to computers/social media. The daily news is anxiety provoking. Families live far apart. I congratulate anyone who has taken the initiative to seek the self-care they need. We self-care by having our hair and nails done, maybe a little Botox here and there, gym workouts. We take care of the outside and nobody questions it. So why not take care of the inside?

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