Mental illness invisible challenge

Controversy swirls around Facebook photos that show depressed woman on long-term disability looking happy
By Angela Scappatura
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/11/2010

A person working productively in the office next door or one who always greets others with a warm smile could be suffering from a mental health issue, said Estelle Morrison, Toronto-based director of health management at Ceridian. The expectation mental illness is visible is a common misconception that can be detrimental to workplace well-being, she said.

“The reality is, mental illness doesn’t always look the same way,” said Morrison. “There is such great stigma around people suffering from mental illness that people will put great effort out to hiding symptoms.”

The belief that mental illness — such as depression and anxiety disorders — is easily discernible was highlighted in November when a Quebec woman claimed her long-term disability benefits were cut off because of photos she posted on Facebook.