Good Careers for Mentally Ill People

Lots of people suffer from mental illness. Although it is a very personal issue, it's important to disclose this information to your employer. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must accommodate and treat mentally ill workers the same as those suffering from a physical illness. This may give you an opportunity to work more flexible hours or in a less distracted work environment.


While the severity of mental illness various from person to person, it's important for those suffering from a mental illness to find employment. Being unemployed makes you feel a diminished sense of self and have fewer social supports, which can be devastating for mentally ill sufferers. While various companies offer opportunities to those who are mentally ill, there are also organisations that specifically dedicate their services to providing employment to these individuals.

One specific organisation is the Buckalew Program, which helps mentally ill patients find work and learn to fully participate in their community. These programs offer employment within their agencies or help you find jobs with another company. The following are some of the careers offered within the Buckalew Program for mentally ill individuals.


Custodians work in various buildings, schools, gymnasiums and other public venues. The responsibilities for custodians vary, depending on the location. While primary duties include sweeping, mopping, emptying trash bins and doing some cleaning, other duties may include maintenance of property, setting up and tearing down events, supplying materials and locking doors.

Cleaning Service

Working in the cleaning service industry means performing light cleaning duties in commercial establishments and private homes. The responsibilities for cleaners include vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, washing windows, making bed and doing laundry. While some cleaners work individually, others work in teams. Opportunities are available in hotels, hospitals, restaurants and department stores.

Food Service Industry

Careers in the food service industry are available in full-service restaurants, casual dining establishments, fast food eateries and cafeterias. Individuals in this field work as part of a team and focus on customer service and improving workflow. Opportunities are available to greet customers, show them their seats, take orders, deliver food and wash dishes.

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About the Author

Ted Marten lives in New York City and began writing professionally in 2007, with articles appearing on various websites. Marten has a bachelor's degree in English and has also received a certificate in filmmaking from the Digital Film Academy.