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Discrimination against job-seekers with mental health conditions lessened through advocacy

Employers are advised to stop making job applicants declare whether they have had a mental health condition, according to an article by The Straits Times (read here). The article reports that the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, or TAFEP, has updated its stance to consider asking about past or existing mental health issues discriminatory, alongside other prohibited questions on age, race, religion or disabilities. TAFEP is an agency set up to promote fair employment practices among both employers and the general public. Caregivers and their loved ones alike will be pleased with this move. A major challenge preventing those with mental health issues finding employment is the reluctance of employers to give such persons a chance. Removing declarations about mental health will be a welcome first step in reducing mental health stigma in the workplace.

The move comes after years of campaigning by mental health advocates in Singapore. Examples of advocacy efforts have included lobbying by non-profit organisation Silver Ribbon (read here), as well as nation-wide campaigns to change the public’s perception of mental health conditions such as NCSS’ Beyond the Label campaign.

Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob showed her support for the move in a post on Facebook. Commenting on mental health declarations in job application forms, she said “not only is this practice discriminatory but it’s also one major contributing factor why people with mental health issues do not seek treatment. It contributes to the general malign of the stigma that surrounds this illness.”

This recent change shows that advocacy can make a difference. When we all unite to speak up for those with mental health issues, we can create a more caring and inclusive society. That is why CAL encourages caregivers who attend the Caregivers-to-Caregivers Training Programme (C2C) to advocate for their loved ones’ welfare. Advocacy does not refer only to large scale campaigning – even small actions count! If you wish to advance the mental health cause, one way you can help is by supporting other caregivers as a volunteer or by sharing your stories and experiences with them. View some ways to volunteer here. Want to understand more about caregiving and mental health? Join our C2C Programme. To report instances of unfair employment practices, visit TAFEP’s website:


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