September 5, 2014
The sudden death of famed actor and comedian Robin Williams has brought added attention to the severity of mental illness. Williams’ long battle with depression and his suspected bipolar disorder reportedly led the actor to commit suicide this week.
Williams’ battles are far from uncommon. According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide among middle-aged men has risen a startling 27 percent since 1999. Millions of Americans face the daily reality of depression and mental illness, and American companies are discovering ways to help their employees.
Why are so many people afraid to disclose, and treat, a mental illness?
We asked three disability advocates and leaders—Carol Glazer, President, National Organization on Disability(NOD); Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader and AccessAbilities Leader for EY; and Jill Houghton, Executive Director, US Business Leadership Network (USBLN)—to shed some light on depression and on ways that mental-health issues can be successfully managed in the workplace.
All three women see one key hurdle: The stigma associated with mental illness is keeping those with it from being open about their condition, and from receiving the needed assistance in order to succeed in the workforce and society.