Workplace Mental Health: ADA Accommodations

Tasha Patterson@Work

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ADA Accommodations for Mental Health

By Darcy Gruttadaro, JD

Director, Center for Workplace Mental Health
American Psychiatric Association Foundation

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990. The ADA prohibits employment discrimination against people with “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”1 and refers to mental health conditions as “psychiatric disabilities.”

These conditions include anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Mental health conditions are common, impacting nearly one in five, or more than 46 million U.S. adults.2 Not everyone who experiences these conditions seeks or needs the protections offered by the ADA.

Employers are well positioned to create supportive and inclusive workplaces for people experiencing mental health conditions, making it more likely that people will feel psychologically safe to come forward for work-related support when it’s needed. Given how common mental health conditions are, that’s not only good for individuals but also good for business in retaining a strong workforce, keeping overall healthcare costs down, and disability rates lower.

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