The Disabled Workforce: Interactive Process, Stress, and Mental Health

Jai Hooker@Work

The Disability Interactive Process, Stress, and Mental Health

By Rachel Shaw, Principal Consultant, Founder, Shaw HR Consulting

Employers continue to see effects of stress and mental illness in the workplace. According to one poll, 80% of workers feel stress on the job,1 which can lead to more accommodation requests. The World Health Organization indicates the pandemic triggered a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide.2

While seeking ways to mitigate workplace-related stress and supporting employee mental health is paramount, how do disability compliance managers handle an influx of medical notes that indicate an employee’s need to reduce stress in the workplace?

Accommodating a mental health disability is often complex because needs may not be visible or clear at the outset. Moreover, there is no single accommodation solution for psychological disabilities, which are employee- and situation-specific. Often employers will receive a verbal request or medical note that lists a desired accommodation without work restrictions or functional limitations.

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