Workplace Accommodations for People with Mental Illness: A Scoping Review


Purpose Disability discrimination legislation means that employees with a disability or mental illness are legally entitled to reasonable workplace accommodations that enable them to work effectively and safely. This scoping review aims to investigate the types of workplace accommodations provided for people with mental illness, and their costs and benefits. Methods A literature search was conducted using five electronic databases. Peer reviewed research articles published between 1993 and June 2013 were included in this scoping review and their quality was assessed. Opinion papers, reports, and case descriptions were excluded. Results Nine studies explored workplace accommodations for people with mental illness. The most commonly reported work-related accommodations were flexible scheduling/reduced hours, modified training and supervision, and modified job duties/descriptions. The least common type of accommodation was physical modification to the workplace. For employees with persistent mental illness who were accessing a supported employment agency, the majority of accommodations related to support from the job coach or employment specialist, such as facilitating communication with the employer during hiring or on the job. The quality of the studies varied considerably and the benefits of the accommodations are not yet well documented. There is limited evidence that a larger number of workplace accommodations are associated with longer job tenure. Conclusions Workplace accommodations appear to be important to support employees with mental illness, but more accessible information about how disability discrimination legislation applies to this population is needed. Future research should address the implementation and effectiveness of mental health-related workplace accommodations.

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Correspondence to Ellie Fossey.



See Table 2.

Table 2 Evidence table

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McDowell, C., Fossey, E. Workplace Accommodations for People with Mental Illness: A Scoping Review. J Occup Rehabil 25, 197–206 (2015).

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  • Workplace accommodations
  • Work rehabilitation
  • Mental illness
  • Scoping review