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Mental Illness at Work

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Mental Illness at Work

A Manager’s Guide to Identifying, Managing and Preventing Psychological Problems in the Workplace

Palgrave Macmillan,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

You can help your employees prevent mental health issues and manage those who struggle with them.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Staff members who underperform, torpedo projects, undermine office morale, violate legal or moral boundaries, or approach their work so carelessly that they get fired may be struggling with some form of mental illness. Psychologists Mary-Clare Race and Adrian Furnham help managers spot challenging mental issues and deal with them effectively. They demystify many mental health diagnoses and offer useful advice about how to work with and manage employees who have mental health issues. Race and Furnham do tend to describe people by their mental health condition, though best practice generally calls for using terms like “people with schizophrenia’ rather than “schizophrenics,” to highlight the affected people’s humanity, not their condition. However, most of the suggestions here are sound and practical. getAbstract finds the information thorough and very helpful, particularly for managers who are unfamiliar with mental illness.


“What is Mental Illness?”

What behavior is normal and what is abnormal? People define other folks as normal if they act like them, but no one is flawless and “normal” can cover a wide range of people. Often, though, you can identify indications of mental health issues that may call for medical follow-up. These issues can spring from “biological, psychological and social factors.”

The world in which people live, how they think, what they’ve inherited and various “neurological factors” can prompt “disordered habits, thoughts or drives.” Strong connections among thoughts, behaviors and a person’s environment affect how doctors treat mental illness. A mentally well person who lives in an “unhealthy society” may not fit that society. The definition of normal changes as society evolves. For example, in the past, mainstream society considered homosexuality abnormal, but no longer.

Common Mental Illnesses

Frequently occurring mental illnesses you might encounter at work include:

  • Schizophrenia – This condition, which occurs in one out of 100 people, prompts “irrational thinking, delusions and hallucinations.” One-third of schizophrenia...

About the Authors

Mary-Clare Race is a psychologist focusing on human behavior. Adrian Furnham is the author of more than 80 books and teaches psychology at University College London.

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    A. B. 2 years ago
    Antisocial – These people remain as “mischievous” as “adolescents all their life: careless, irresponsible, hedonistic.” They are smart, charming and attractive, but not great at being totally truthful or handling details.

    This is completely wrong. Who put this type of mockery in this abstract? Stunned.