FAQ

I have had several years out of the workforce due to a mental health problem. How should I account for this on my CV and LinkedIn profile?
If your absence from the workforce is more recent than earlier, it can be challenging to deal with it in your resume, CV or Linkedin Profile.I would expect that a person in the position of hiring would be interested in what you have done in the past, but what you have done recently is likely of more importance.I would suggest focussing on your experience i.e. what you have done, rather than the fact that there was an extended absence.Just avoid mentioning the absence and especially the reason you out of the workforce on the written portion of your resume.An astute recruiter is going to do the math. If they see an unexpected absence, they are likely to ask you why. That assumes you’ve made it to the interview.I recommend that job searchers have a Questions Toolbox. Metaphorically speaking of course. You need to be prepared to answer questions that are likely to come up in a job interview. What do you bring to the job etc.?You should also be prepared to answer questions that you don’t want to answer. That likely doesn’t make sense at first, but the idea is that you are prepared in advance for an uncomfortable question and have a response ready for it.This question focuses on being out of the workforce for several years due to mental health issues.People that have been incarcerated in jail or prison, often face the same issue. We are also seeing a trend with older workers who have retired from their jobs, perhaps early by design or to raise grandchildren. They too need to explain their absences when called upon.Your question doesn’t mention what type of jobs you are applying for or in what field. I’m wondering if you can take anything from your time off work, arguably lemons … and turning it into something positive i.e. lemonade?There are jobs out there where having mental health experience from the receiving end, would be an asset.I would be leery of creating any cover story to account for your illness if it wasn’t based on the truth. Lies or misrepresentations can have a way of coming back to haunt us.
This is Mental Health Awareness Week, and BBC News is proving just how out of touch they are with the subject by interviewing and playing segments of persons who are mentally healthy. Why is the BBC so ignorant about mental health in reality?
We are all aware that mental health problems exist (we couldn’t be more out about it than if we wore giant paper signs around our necks these days), but just so you now, a lot of people with mental illnesses prefer to keep it private and don’t wish to be on camera. And are you sure these “mentally healthy” people aren’t experts in the field of psychiatry/psychology/neuroscience, or family members struggling with a mentally ill friend or relative? Let’s not forget that there’s not just a stigma around having a mental illness, but also around loving or raising someone who has a mental illness. BBC is no more ignorant than any other organization on the subject of mental health. As it stands, we’re actually all pretty ignorant. McDonald’s isn’t discussing mental illnesses, nor is Monsanto or Microsoft or Fox or CNN or any other large corporate entity, so why all the hate towards BBC?
How common is it for a mentally ill person to successfully hide their illness from a trained professional during a assessment for security clearances or the police academy?
It is hard to find any mental illness, a professional can make an assessment of somebody’s health. She or he can also talk to your significant other or anybody who knows about your behavior. But for your own sake it’s rather better to get help if you have any kind of emotional disturbance in your life.
I want to become a mental health professional, but I’m overwhelmed at the amount of mental health careers out there. How can I best narrow down the range of potential choices?
First define nature of the work. Decide research or clinical practice (or both)!Then study the perspectives of psychology and decide which ones are most credible to you and seem the most interesting (that is, if any of them stand out more than others).This will lead you to deciding to be anything from a psychiatrist, to a cognitive behavioral therapist, to a hypnotist.Once you decide whether you want to do research or have a clinical practice, you can decide the type of degree you need. You can research with a BA, but to be an LCSW you need 9 years total of training (a masters degree and 3 years post masters training). But however, you can get a PhD without a becoming an LCSW and become a research team leader.
Is the ability to understand and accept reality as it is a key ingredient of good mental health?
Yes, it is!The problem comes when you're version of reality is 'unrealistic' in someway - as happens with personality disorders like narcissism, for example, where the narcissist consistently misinterprets the impact of their negative behaviour on others, and has a very unrealistic view of themselves and their behaviour.One of my teachers, Rabbi Shalom Arush, taught me a very useful rule of thumb for knowing if you have good mental health:If you have good relationships with other people, and can generally interact with others in a good way, that's the best guide you've got that you're mentally and emotionally healthy.Of course, the 'others' are not just friends, neighbours and work colleagues. This particularly applies to our relationships with our kids and spouses - the people who we see 24/7, and who we can't hide our true self from.You can find a whole discussion about the 3 foundations of emotional health, what they are, and how to strengthen them at my website, www.jemi.websiteHope this is helpful,Rivka LevyJewish Emotional Health Institute