Editorial: let all hands work

Vähenenud töövõimega inimesi ei lasta tulevikus käed rüpes istuda.

PHOTO: Elmo Riig / Sakala

About every working-age individual in Estonia has encountered problems psychic and behavioural. In 2013, over 51,000 people purchased some prescription medicine to counter that. For more than 30,000 with such issues, work capacity has been partially or totally lost.  

According to Praxis study freshly published, the mentally ill are less likely to be employed. Among reasons for persistent work incapacity, such disorders plague one in five. In Estonia, less than a third of those persistently afflicted in the mental manner are employed. 

As revealed by the figures, the problem is large enough to rank among weightiest unemployment topics.

As if the handicap were not enough, it is often the prevalent prejudices that keep the troubled ones from getting jobs.

In 2006, Eurobarometer says 63 in EU thought that people with psychological and emotional problems were unpredictable. In Estonia, the percentage stood at 76. In the EU, 37 percent figured these people were dangerous. In Estonia, it was 60 percent.

Sure, the best way would be keeping the mental issues from happening. Like the employers organising the works so as to keep stress levels lower. Also important to take notice when people are displaying issues – so competent help would be found.

Meanwhile, lots of things can be done to assist people with problems in finding/keeping jobs. Naturally, dealing with employees of this kind may spell extra trouble. And, perhaps, they don’t always behave as expected. Whatever goes without saying for a healthy one may not be so for the mentally unstable. Perhaps, things must be explained twice. Maybe, the workplace needs to be tweaked a bit.

Obviously, such added load would rather be avoided by bosses. Still, for the society, how much better for these people to at least do something constructive, enjoy the company of colleagues at a workplace and not have to be supported by others. 

An involving society will be stronger than one building barriers. For a nation as small As Estonia, how vital to make full use of any potential. None is superfluous, everyone’s input is welcome and needed.