HBR Blog- Why I Hired an Executive with a Mental Illness


#1

A few years ago, I was interviewing a candidate for a substantial position in our firm. Although the candidate and I had exchanged a number of emails, this was our first meeting. We got along very well. Then something unexpected happened: She looked me in the eye and said that she struggled with “mental illness.” She added that she’d been on meds for more than a decade, and that there had been no episode during that time. But she wanted me to hear about her condition directly from her, in case I had any questions.

We talked about her mental health, but only for a few minutes. I had never been in this situation before, and I honestly wasn’t sure what to say. I thanked her for her integrity, and we moved on.


#2

Times are changing, attitudes are changing :smiley:

Thank you for this article.


#3

Thank you for posting this. This is good news.


#4

That’s a big nope. I bet that woman had ample qualifications and one of the best resumes ever seen. I really don’t suggest going in and telling people. They will probably already know there is something up if you have to go to the doctor every month (that’s how my last supervisor found out. She put the pieces together but she only got depression from it. I didn’t lie about it but I didn’t add that I was sza). But now I go to the doctor less often (when I am doing well only about once every three months) so the pattern is harder to spot.
I know all of the people where I work fairly well. Well enough to be comfortable with it if they found out some how but I just don’t think it is professional to just tell everyone. Maybe you can tell your boss if you feel like they are accepting (and have worked there and proved yourself) if you need special accommodations for a little while (I don’t know what they would be but I will admit that can happen) but I think you just don’t tell everyone. That’s like just going around talking about your health in any way other than just briefly mentioning that you have to take blood pressure medication if it comes up but I think talking about mental illness for no reason is just being risky.
Also they didn’t mention that people at her last job might have known and she wanted to stop any rumors of instability in their tracks by talking about it in a calm manner. But otherwise, yeah, not a good idea.