I am utterly appalled at the abhorrent abuses of position and power committed by employees whom we entrust to help support our young people in finding work.
I’ve just been made aware of a “diagnosis” that was made about a young person’s mental state by a Job Assessment Officer, who labelled this young person with various Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenic and Mentally Unstable diagnoses, without having any qualification nor right to do so. This “Job Assessment Officer” told this young person they were “schizophrenic”, “mentally unstable”, “manic-depressive”, and that they were “unsuitable for work” and then further went on to tell this young person “go and see a bloody psychiatrist and get some help”.
I know this young person very well, and I know what this person has survived and endured, and thank the gods that this young soul is a strong one because I would hate to see what “could have resulted” from arrogant discriminatory labelling. We entrust these lowly qualified desk jockeys with helping our young people, and possibly ourselves, in finding work, and or proper training, counselling and other assistance that may be necessary in helping someone to enter/re-enter the workforce. Further, these people are in a position of trust and very much a position of power over young people, and welfare recipients in general….being that Job Assessment Officers have the power to cancel Centrelink payments, make certain recommendations about clients — accurate or otherwise, etc…so from the client’s point of view, these people have enormous power over their lives.
It is precisely this kind of behaviour that directly contributes to our teen suicide rates. Here is some information about the kinds of factors that contribute to teen suicide, and suicide in general – http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=13738&cn=9 http://www.youthbeyondblue.com/factsheets-and-info/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_suicide.
A quote off the mentalhelp.net website states “Emotional insults, such as rejection, public humiliation or shame, may be experienced as painful enough by some people to push them towards suicide. Perceived social rejection often leads to social isolation, which also increases suicidality. In addition, a combination of poor coping skills or other suicide vulnerability factors and an emotional insult can be particularly devastating. In the late 1980s, some research suggested a link between homosexuality, social rejection, and teen suicide, particularly in young males. Current research suggests that young homosexual or bisexual males are at greater risk than heterosexuals for suicide attempts, but findings are less clear regarding suicide completion.”
To really add insult to injury, I’ve just spoken with the person involved over the phone and been further informed that the Manager/Supervisor of the job agency involved, upon my young friend making a complaint about it to him, asked that my friend refrain from going to the police, etc, and that in exchange for their silence, that he assured my friend that the man responsible would have his “qualifications disqualified” and that my friend would get a “written apology”.
Unfortunately due to being already under enormous pressure from other life circumstances this young person is not in a position at this time to stand up and fight this, so has accepted the offer. I don’t blame this young person for one second for choosing not to take it further and fight this, because they’re dealing with enough life stresses and pressures as is without trying to step in to the incredibly daunting world that comes with standing up for yourself…of dealing with the legal system, lawyers (ikk), and the Anti-discrimination Tribunal, and all the loops and hoops you’re required to jump through to get anything at all to happen.
I so wish that I could publicly name and shame the Job Assessment Officer and the Agency involved….however that choice is not mine to make this time. Anyone passing these kinds of judgements, especially upon a teenager who has already been through sheer hell, should be physically reefed out of their comfortable chair and dumped out on the street, never allowed to work in a position of authority over other people again!
It is not good enough that this kind of behaviour is occurring in the first place. People need to take a stand, and when treated in this kind of way. If you get as far as it being acknowledged by Employers and or managers/supervisors….then don’t accept second best. If it is a serious enough breach like the one my young friend endured today, then don’t let them sweep it under the rug. Take a stand! We need to stamp out this kind of discriminatory behaviour!
There are agencies out there that will offer a certain amount of free help, advice, and or support in helping people to tackle these kinds of issues. For women there are organisations here in Hobart like S.H.E. (Support, Help, Empowerment – a Women’s Support Organisation) – http://www.she.org.au/, and The Women’s Legal Advisory Service – http://www.womenslegaltas.org.au/index.html, The Hobart Community Legal Service – http://www.hobartlegal.org.au/. There are many other organisations out there also offering support, and if anyone is seeking information on those then I am more than happy to assist in tracking down services in your area. If you need help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .