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    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Human Relations, 71 (5), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Human Relations page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/hum on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

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Identity, mental health and work: how employees with mental health conditions recount stigma and the pejorative discourse of mental illness

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/05/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Human Relations
Issue number5
Volume71
Publication statusPublished
Early online date8/09/17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article asks how identity is constructed for individuals with mental health conditions (MHCs) in the workplace. It takes especial regard to how MHCs are discursively situated, constructed and reconstructed in the workplace. Employees with MHCs face a difficult situation: not only do they need to deal with the stigma and discrimination commonly associated with MHCs, but they must also manage their health condition whilst adhering to organizational demands to demonstrate performance and commitment to work. Discourse analysis derived from 32 interviews with individuals with MHCs delineates how these individuals feel both stigmatized and empowered by their MHCs. The findings address three discursive strands: (i) a pejorative construction of mental illness in employment and society; (ii) contesting mental illness at work by embracing mental health management skills; and (iii) recounting mental illness through public disclosure and change. This article enhances understanding of how the construction of positive identity in the face of negative attributions associated with MHCs contributes to literature on identity, organizations and stigma as well as raising implications for policy and practice.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Human Relations, 71 (5), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Human Relations page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/hum on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/