How to Manage Depressive Disorder in the Workplace





How to Address Depressive Disorder While at Work

 

Going to work represents a major step in the ability to manage the symptoms of depressive disorder. However, you may be worried about how you’ll handle the additional stress of starting a new job. While staying on track with your treatment plan is still essential, you can also use these tips to manage your depression and be successful in the workplace. 

Choose the Right Work Arrangements 


If depressive disorder is a new diagnosis, it’s possible your former career may no longer be a good fit. It’s also common for people with known depression to stay in the same workplace for years without realizing their condition has been contributing to their symptoms. In the beginning of your recovery, you may need to look for employment opportunities that help you ease back into the working world. For instance, part-time
jobs for people with disabilities or those that offer flex time may give you the time you need to de-stress between shifts. 

Break Work Tasks Up into Smaller Goals 


Once you begin to work, one of your biggest concerns is to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Instead of looking at everything that needs to be accomplished in a day, try breaking complicated responsibilities into smaller, more achievable goals. Not only will this help you avoid getting stressed out, but completing each goal may provide a mental boost that increases positive feelings throughout your workday. 

Practice Stress Management Techniques 

                                      
Every job comes with demands that lead to stress. For this reason, you need to continuously add new stress management techniques to your toolkit. Try finding a combination of techniques you can use at home and in the workplace. For instance, you can go for a run as soon as you get home to get endorphins flowing. At work, you may be able to strike a quick yoga pose in your office or take a few deep breaths before working with a customer. 

Personalize Your Workspace

 
The symptoms of depression could cause you to lose sight of what brings you joy in life. A few personal touches in your workspace can bring your thoughts back to your sense of purpose. Try adding plants, photographs, or small knickknacks to your workspace to create a relaxing atmosphere. If your workplace doesn’t provide you with space to set up personal items, consider carrying a picture of your family in your pocket or another small token you can use as motivation for making it through each day. 

Follow Basic Self-Care Measures 


Hectic work weeks make it difficult to keep up with basic self-care practices that are important for maintaining a positive mindset. As you go back to work, make sure to include self-care practices in your routine so they become ingrained into your daily activities. Go to bed early enough each night to get proper sleep, and take time out for lunch to eat right during the day. Finally, make sure to carve out a few hours each week for personal pursuits that help you de-stress before going back to work.

 

Whether you’re living with depressive disorder or another disability, there are many jobs for disabled men and women that may be suitable for you. Start by searching the listings provided by disABLEDperson, Inc. You can also feel free to give us a call at 760-420-1269 if you have any questions about searching for suitable jobs for people living with disabilities.

Are Service Animals Allowed at Work?




Can You Bring a Service Animal to Your Job?

 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the phrase “service animal” refers to a dog that has undergone training to perform specific tasks for an owner living with a disability. The animals must also be socially trained to act appropriately while on duty. An individual may require the services of an animal if he or she has an intellectual, mental, physical, psychiatric, or sensory disorder. When service animals are deemed qualified, their owners may take them to their workplace. 

Various laws prohibit anyone from discriminating against an employee secondary to disability. Under these circumstances, employers must make certain concessions, which often includes allowing a disabled employee to be accompanied by a service animal. Some employers offering
jobs for disabled people also allow emotional support animals. However, stipulations apply. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission assumes responsibility for enforcing employment provision mandated by the ADA. However, the agency doesn’t have specific guidelines when it comes to service or emotional support animals. 

In certain situations, an individual's disability may not be visibly apparent. Sometimes, the reason for requiring a service animal might not be clear. In these instances, the employer has the right to request documentation that verifies the disability and how the animal assists the owner in performing the job. 

The verification may include a detailed explanation as to what tasks the animal is required to perform on the behalf of the owner. The animal might also be required to demonstrate its behavior in the workplace. Initially, the employer and employee may agree the service animal's presence is allowed on a trial basis. 

Human Resources 

Employers may require that an employee who wishes to bring a service animal to work seek approval through human resources. During the consultation process, the animal owner must: 

• Prove the service animal is properly trained 
• Possess documentation or proof of insurance that covers the animal 

• Provide proof that the animal is current on all vaccinations, free of parasites, and properly groomed 
• Ensure the animal won’t interact with other employees or pose a possible health risk to others 
• Sign a waiver that states the owner accepts all responsibility for the animal 


If at any time, the animal displays inappropriate social behavior that jeopardizes the workplace, interferes with other employees, or in other ways becomes disruptive, the employer has the right to prohibit the animal's future presence. 

Service Animals-in-Training 

According to the ADA, employers might also be obligated to allow an employee to bring a service animal to work if the animal is in the process of being trained for duty. However, the animal must be in the process of learning how to assist the employee at work by performing specific tasks. If the animal becomes disruptive or behaves inappropriately during the training process, the employer has the right to prohibit the animal’s presence in the future.

 

Whether or not you can bring your service animal to work is just one of the many factors to consider when job searching. People with disabilities have many great opportunities for employment, no matter the challenges they face. If you’re seeking a new job, take a look at the listings provided by disABLEDperson, Inc. If you’d like to learn more about our charitable organization, or if you have any difficulties navigating the site, please feel free to give us a call at 760-420-1269.    

6 Telecommuting Tools for the Hearing Impaired




6 Tools People with Hearing Impairments Can Use When Telecommuting

 

If working from home appeals to you, now's the ideal time to interview. Increasingly, telecommuting has gained favor with employers since they save substantially in recruiting costs. Just like working in-house jobs for mildly disabled people, being hearing-impaired doesn't limit your ability to work remotely. With the following types of assistive technology, communication is simple.

1. TTY 

TTY stands for teletypewriter, also known as a text phone. The device resembles a typewriter, with a keyboard, display screen, and modem. TTY enables conversing with both hearing and hearing-impaired individuals. Like texting, the process begins with typing your message. When calling a person without a TTY, your message is conveyed via the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). To complete your call, a TRS agent delivers your message verbally. TRS is available 24/7 by calling 7-1-1. There's no limit on call length or number of calls placed. Plus, the TRS service is free to people with hearing loss. 

When receiving a message on a TTY, the characters are converted to electrical signals, transmitted over a phone line. Once your message arrives, the signals are converted back to characters and displayed as text. Calls are announced by a flashing light on the machine or a vibrating wristband. When the other TTY user sends a message, you'll see it on your display. 

2. Speech-to-Text Apps

Among the vast number of apps designed for the hearing-impaired, here are some options well-suited to telecommuting: 

Sprint Relay Mobile IP 

Type your message, and the operator verbally conveys it to your recipient. Then, the operator types the response back to you. To make text more legible, you can adjust the font size and color. Plus, you can save conversations and place calls in Spanish through a translating operator. Sprint Relay is free for both Android and iOS devices. 

Pedius 

This app uses voice recognition and synthesis software to translate speech into text. To place a call, type your message, and the app converts it to speech, using a computerized voice. When your caller responds, the app translates the spoken words into text. Pedius is free for Android and iOS devices. 

Ava 

You might use this app if your job requires you to split flextime between your home and a corporate office. Ava is an on-demand translator for both individual and group conversations, with privacy guaranteed. 

3. iPhone Voicemail Transcription

With an iPhone 6s or later model, you can access Voicemail Transcription. This default feature transcribes audio messages into text. Although the transcription may not be entirely identical to the audio recording, you'll get the gist of the message.

4. Videophone 

If you use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, obtain a videophone. When you place calls to individuals who can hear, a sign language interpreter translates your messages. In return, the video interpreter signs responses back to you. 

Interpretation is provided free through government-funded Video Relay Services (VRS). Interpreters are fluent in ASL, English, and Spanish. Regular telephone users can contact you by calling a VRS Center, typically through a toll-free number. To use a videophone, you need a computer with a high-speed Internet connection and a video camera.

5. ClearCaptions

ClearCaptions is a free, nationwide captioning service for people with hearing loss. Like television captioning, phone conversations are displayed as screen text. ClearCaptions is available for use on Android and iOS smartphones, tablets, web browsers, and the Clarity Ensemble, a company-issued phone. This technology utilizes voice recognition software and a TRS operator who converts speech into captions and sends them to your chosen device. ClearCaptions is free to qualified hearing-impaired individuals in the U.S., paid by the Federal Communications Commission. To be eligible for ClearCaptions, your hearing loss must be certified by a healthcare professional, such as an audiologist. After submitting the completed form and becoming registered, you can download the app from Google Play or the App Store. 

6. Phone Amplification Devices

Amplifiers raise incoming call volume while clarifying speech. With so many kinds of amplifiers available, the guidance of an audiologist may be helpful in making a choice. Here are some popular designs: 

In-Line Amplifier 

This small unit, equipped with two ports, works on a corded phone. One end connects to the handset, while the other hooks up to the base. The amplifier boosts specific frequencies, refining speech and making similar words more discernible. Additionally, the device blocks background noises and feedback. Some in-line amplifiers enable the user to adjust voice tone. 

Portable Amplifier 

This gadget accommodates corded and some cordless phones, and it straps onto a handset earpiece, improving speech clarity and increasing volume. Portable amplifiers are lightweight and battery-powered, with adjustable straps and carrying pouches. Most units are inexpensive. Since a portable amplifier can travel with you, it's handy if your job requires part-time work in a corporate office. Some portables create a loop signal, making them compatible with a hearing aid on a "T" setting. 

Dedicated Amplifier Telephone 

This is a complete phone, enabling you to adjust the volume and tone to your liking, either with sliding levers, a dial, or handset button. Additional features may include Caller ID, noise reduction, echo cancellation, and a speakerphone. Flashing lights signal incoming calls. Dedicated phones are available in both corded and cordless styles. 

ADA Regulations

Several laws mandate that employers make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. Among the rulings are Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accommodations include free assistive technology and services that enable the performance of essential job duties. The laws apply to companies employing 15 or more people. 

You can request assistive devices when applying for a job and any time after being hired. There are no stipulations regarding types of equipment. To obtain equipment, present your wishes to your supervisor. You can do this in person or in writing, or the request can be made on your behalf by a coworker, family member, or healthcare professional. After agreeing on what the firm will provide, document your discussion and the agreement terms. Note that employers are exempt from buying equipment that would cause them undue hardship, such as steep costs.

 

There are many jobs for individuals with disabilities such as hearing impairments, and you may find just what you’re looking for among the job listings provided by disABLEDperson, Inc. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 760-420-1269.

Should You Discuss Mental Health Disabilities with Coworkers?




Should You Talk About Your Mental Health Disability with Your Coworkers?

 

Society has come a long way when it comes to recognizing the importance of treating mental health conditions. However, it’s still common for some stigma to exist regarding conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder, and you may worry about how your coworkers will view your disability. Now that you’re ready to go back to work, you can use this guide to determine if and how you talk about your mental health disability to your coworkers. 

Recognize Your Right to Privacy 


The first thing you need to know is that mental health disabilities are protected under privacy laws that allow you to be in control of who knows about your diagnosis. Although your coworkers may need to know things such as the times when you’ll be out of the workplace, you don’t have to tell them anything more than the fact that you’re taking personal time off or that you’re treating a health condition. Since many people live with chronic illnesses and there are many
jobs you can work disabled, this is usually enough to stop people from asking further questions. 

Decide How Much You Want to Disclose 


In some cases, you may feel it’s important to talk about mental health issues with your coworkers. For instance, you may decide to be an advocate for more openness about the importance of seeking treatment for depression, or you may feel a coworker needs an explanation for the accommodations you use to be successful. In these cases, you can decide how much you want to share. For instance, you may state that you have a specific diagnosis but not go into your symptoms. 

Choose the Language You Want to Use 


There are several ways to name a mental health disability. For instance, some people keep it vague and simply say they’re managing a medical condition or a biochemical imbalance. Others may name their condition specifically. All of these options are perfectly fine, and you should use the language you feel best fits into your work environment. 

Keep the Focus on Your Work

 

Naturally, you don’t want people to worry unnecessarily about your wellbeing, and you also want to avoid feeding the workplace gossip mill. For this reason, you need to keep your conversation focused on how your disability affects the workplace. Your coworkers don’t need to know whether or not you’ve ever been hospitalized, but they may need to know why having accommodations such as a quiet workspace or a flexible work schedule is important for your productivity. 

Highlight Your Abilities 


As with any type of disability, avoid having people only see you as your diagnosis. If you’ve decided to share about your diagnosis, be willing to also highlight a few benefits. For instance, living with a mental health disability may make you more compassionate with customers. Alternatively, your condition may bring out your creativity or allow you to focus on tedious tasks. These are all positive attributes you bring to the workplace that help your coworkers see you as a valuable contributor to your shared goals.

 

Whether you’re living with a mental or physical disability, make sure you find the right job for your skill set. There are many amazing jobs for the disabled available, and you’re likely to find what you’re looking for on the listings provided by disABLEDperson, Inc. If you’d like to learn more about our charitable organization, please give us a call today at 760-420-1269.

Great Transportation Opportunities for People with Disabilities




What Are Some Good Transportation Options for People with Disabilities?

 

For people who are disabled, jobs are much easier to find and keep when reliable transportation is available. The task of finding reliable transportation to a job may seem daunting, but many options exist beyond public transit systems, carpooling, and driving an adapted vehicle. Below are some to consider. 

Paratransit 

If your disability prevents you from using public transportation, you may be eligible for Paratransit. This door-to-door service is available in most metropolitan areas and some rural locales. Typically, the vehicles employed are wheelchair-accessible taxis, vans, or minibuses, providing round-trip commutes. Vehicles travel near the same routes used by buses and trains, during the same hours. The cost is comparable to bus fare. 

Paratransit isn't limited to wheelchair users. However, if you do travel by wheelchair, the driver can help you enter and exit the vehicle. Drivers are specially trained to assist disabled individuals. To qualify for Paratransit, you must complete an application stating your disability and why public transportation isn't an option. Additionally, a healthcare professional must sign the form. Once approved, you'll receive a pass enabling you to schedule rides.

Uber 

Uber operates in 633 cities worldwide, and it differs from taxis in many ways. First, Uber cars can only be accessed by smartphone, not hailed from the street. Secondly, Uber drivers don't have special licenses, and they use their personal vehicles for transport. Uber also has several advantages over cabs. Typically, Uber fares are cheaper, often undercutting cab rates by half. Plus, tipping is optional. Since Uber drivers are rated by passengers on customer service, they're motivated to keep the cars in tip-top shape. As a condition of employment, Uber drivers must consistently score high in customer ratings. Regarding the treatment of service animals, drivers are required to honor laws and company policies. 

When requesting a ride, use the app to specify your pickup location. Then, Uber gives you an estimated arrival time, the average wait being 3 to 10 minutes. The car's arrival is announced by text, including the car type, driver's name and photo, and trip cost. If other passengers share the ride, you can split the fare, handled electronically. After the ride, you rate the driver on politeness, safe navigation, and car cleanliness. 

The Uber company has a heart and mind for the disabled, with services designed to streamline both communication and transportation: 

  • For deaf and hearing-impaired riders, the Uber app features vibrating and flashing light alerts. With Uber, nonverbal communication is a breeze.
  • Vision-impaired customers have three options for obtaining rides. Depending on the mobile device, they can use either TalkBack for Android, VoiceOver for iPhone, or wireless braille.
  • Wheelchair users can specifically request an accessible vehicle, equipped with a lift or ramp. They can also ask for drivers trained to assist disabled passengers.

Mobility Managers

Mobility managers are employees of transit and human service agencies, with connections to local transportation services. Among their responsibilities is providing disabled individuals with commuting options other than driving. 

Working with a mobility manager is like having a personal travel agent. This professional is a liaison to area transporters, government offices, and community organizations. After researching all commuting possibilities, the manager recommends practical options. For example, the manager might arrange and coordinate rides for you or explain how to find rides independently. 

Many states have established mobility management programs. The National Center for Mobility Management has compiled a list of participating states, along with links to local resources. To access the file, visit: https://nationalcenterformobilitymanagement.org/for-mobility-managers/state-local-mobility-management-websites/

If your state isn't listed, visit the website of the American Public Transportation Association at https://www.apta.com/resources/links/unitedstates/Pages/default.aspx. Here you'll find a state directory with links to public transit agencies. Click on the link for your state, and you'll see agencies listed by region, county, and city.

Transportation Voucher Programs

Across the U.S., many rural areas are joining forces to provide disabled individuals with low-cost transportation. With a voucher program, a sponsoring agency contracts with local transportation providers to offer residents their services. Eligible riders can purchase a voucher checkbook from the host agency, good for a specific number of miles. Such vouchers are deeply discounted, making transportation much more affordable.

Rural transit providers may be public or private, such as taxicab operators or van companies. Additionally, community members are invited to serve as drivers, reimbursed for mileage costs at the federal maximum rate. A Transportation Voucher Program has three beneficiaries—disabled passengers, volunteer drivers, and local transit providers. Some rural communities go the extra mile. While reducing commuting costs, they also subsidize travel for personal errands, medical appointments, and social activities. 

Eldercare Locator

This highly useful resource directs people to local community services, including transportation. With the name "Eldercare," it's logical to think only seniors are eligible for assistance. However, the Locator also welcomes inquiries from disabled adults, ages 21 to 64, who receive Medicare.

To speak with an Eldercare Information Specialist, call the toll-free number, 1-800-677-1116, Monday through Friday, between 9am and 8pm, Eastern Time. When calling, mention that you'd like referrals for transportation services in your area. Here's a partial listing of what may be available: 

  • Paratransit services - also called demand response transportation services
  • Mobility management services
  • Transportation voucher programs
  • Public transportation - bus fares and discounts
  • Volunteer transportation programs
  • One-click transportation websites
  • Vehicle conversion
  • Accessible parking placards/license tags
  • Travel training programs

In case the term "travel training program" isn't familiar, this entails teaching disabled persons the safe and independent use of public transportation. Typically, these programs are free. 

 

Just like there are many jobs for people with disabilities, there are also a wide array of transportation options to choose from. If you’re a person living with a disability who is looking for work, reach out to disABLEDperson, Inc. today. Check out our job listings on our website, and feel free to give us a call at 760-420-1269 to learn more.