Research shows that people with mental illness are willing and able to work. However, the unemployment rate among them remains too high. Stigmatization, often shown by employers, is usually one of the main reasons why people with mental health problems fail to integrate into the labour market. Surveys carried out among employers in different European countries show that more than half of them are not inclined to hire a person who has had a mental illness in the past or is currently being in treatment. People with mental illness identify experiencing job discrimination as one of the most stigmatizing and unpleasant experiences of rejection. The fear of stigmas and rejection by employers are the factors that can seriously damage confidence and lower performance in the job interview itself. Over time, people with mental illness may come to see themselves as unemployable and stop looking for and being interested in different career options.

Experts from the Association for Progressive and Open Communication on the project “L.I.K.E.” – investments in life are the key to employment” held a series of seminars for leaders, managers and human resources specialists. The speakers at the seminar were Elka Bozhkova, one of the clinical psychologists and experts at the L.I.K.E. project and Veselina Pascaleva, a psychologist and expert at the L.I.K.E. project.

The main aim of the training was to reduce stigma and discrimination in the workplace towards people suffering from mental illness, as well as to build a supportive organizational culture that is sufficient to support mental illness and the psychosocial treatment of patients.