What to do when your spouse’s mental illness is affecting your family’s income

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Mental illness can affect every part of a person’s life. It can damage their mental and emotional health as well as their ability to handle everyday responsibilities. For example, a symptom of bipolar disorder is having trouble concentrating, while many people with major depressive disorder have a lack of motivation to be productive. These symptoms can hurt their ability to find (and keep) employment. This may result in job-hopping.

Job-hopping refers to someone constantly leaving (or being let go from) a job and finding a new one. This can form a pattern of having short-term positions at many different employers. It can also mean that their income is unreliable and unsteady.

When your live-in partner struggles to keep a job due to their mental illness, it can damage your finances. This can cause an increase in stress, frustration and fear for the future.

How to approach your spouse about job-hopping due to mental illness

If your spouse’s mental illness is hurting your household’s income, it can be hard to figure out the best approach. While you don’t want to be insensitive and unsupportive of their mental health issues, it’s important that they recognize the responsibility they have for contributing to your family’s finances. 

It can be a hard conversation to have, but an open line of communication is important, especially when it comes to finances. If you let them know about your concerns about their job-hopping, you can work together to find a solution.

Let your partner know that they can still have a successful career with mental health issues. For example, 6 out of 10 adults with a severe or serious mental illness have a job. You can use this statistic as encouragement during your conversation because it proves that even if someone has a mental health issue, they can most likely find employment.

5 options that may help people with a mental illness stop job-hopping

If a person is job-hopping, that means that they don’t have a problem finding one. They just have a problem keeping one. So retention is the key issue. Instead of your spouse just jumping on a job search site, there are ways for them to find options and support for long-term employment.

  • Supported employmentSupported employment is a practice that allows people with various mental illnesses and disabilities to work in a competitive environment. This refers to an integrated work site for people both with and without disabilities working together. People are assigned a job coach. A job coach provides support to help employees complete their tasks to the best of their ability.
  • Voc-hab programsVocational Rehabilitation is an employment program available in every state. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal is to provide training, job placement, and retention support for people with a mental or physical impairment in the workplace.
  • ClubhousesClubhouse International creates community centers around the world for people with mental illnesses. Clubhouses give opportunities for employment as well as housing, education and friendship. They have a Transitional Employment Program that helps people with mental illnesses get into the local labor market.
  • Private disability insurance — If you’re worried about income instead of long-term opportunities for your spouse, there are financing options. If you and your spouse have been paying for disability insurance, and their mental illness has affected them to the point where they’re unable to work, you may be able to get payments from your insurance company. 
  • Social Security programs — Social Security Insurance provides monthly payments to people with little to no income, while Social Security Disability Insurance gives monthly payments to people who have been disabled due to mental or physical illness. Mental illness is a common reason to get SSI or SSDI. More than 5 million people in the U.S. who receive benefits from the Social Security Administration have mental disorders.

Lightfully Behavioral Health can provide your spouse with mental illness treatment

Treatment is one of the best ways for your spouse to learn how to alleviate their mental health disorder symptoms. As they go through their mental health treatment journey, your spouse will gain the resources and support they need to handle everyday responsibilities, like working a job to provide income for your family.

Change is possible. When they’re ready to gain the tools they need to stop job-hopping due to their mental illness, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of them.

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