The Idealist Guide to Working (and Living) with Chronic Illness and Disability

The Idealist Guide to Working (and Living) with Chronic Illness and Disability was originally published on Idealist Careers.

There are myriad stories on the internet about different health experiences—be it chronic illness, disability, mental health struggles, or some combination of the three. But from the perspective of a person who wants to have an impactful career, there is not nearly enough written. 

In this guide, you’ll find resources on working and living with chronic illness or disability. You can dive in to find answers for yourself—or to have more awareness and understanding of what someone you know may be living with. 

On living with chronic illness

Chronic illness is an invisible yet ubiquitous presence in all our lives. It’s estimated that at least 40% of Americans live with at least one chronic health condition—and it’s important to understand how one’s health status affects being a job seeker or an employee. Here are the posts we have published—so far!—on the subject:

On living with disability

It is estimated that 26% of the U.S. population lives with some form of disability. And, as with chronic illness, not all disabilities are visible. Here is what you need to know about how disability can affect one’s work life:

On mental health

Without a doubt, mental health has become one of the most important workplace issues we confront. In the U.S. alone, nearly 20% of the population lives with mental illness, and at least 50% will be diagnosed with a mental health condition or illness at some point in their lifetime. It should come as no surprise then that Idealist has a robust selection of posts to help one cope with their mental health: 

Learn more 

The Idealist Career Advice library on these topics will continue to grow, but if you would like to learn more about how you can help improve awareness and understanding for different health experiences–or if you’re interested in finding employment with an organization that is doing that work–below are some organizations to start with.

Organizations focused on chronic illness:

  • The EPIC Foundation empowers people living with various chronic illnesses through advocacy, support, and other resources. 
  • The Chronic Disease Coalition advocates for protections for people living with long-term or lifelong chronic conditions at school, in the workplace, and with insurance companies. 

Organizations focused on disability rights:

Organizations focused on mental health:

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a grassroots mental health organization providing education, advocacy, and other resources for people living with mental health challenges. 
  • HelpGuide offers education and self-help tools to help you work through your mental health challenges, and figure out how best to move forward. 


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