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CrouchingMouse
November 1st, 2013, 04:10
I have a question, possibly need some advice.

In the self-assessment medical form, it says to list EVERY physical/mental ailment you've ever had, ever, and if you have to elaborate, they want you to take the other health form to your doctor to have them verify this. Okay.

When I was younger, I had what I now consider mild depression/anxiety issues. I saw a shrink or two and took meds on and off until my 2nd year of college, by which time I'd gotten my issues under control and was able to function fine without medication. I'm not depressed anymore and my anxiety is at reasonable, normal-people levels.

My question is, would it be a bad idea to leave that stage of my life off my self-assessment form? I haven't seen a shrink in years and I now live in a different town from anyone I used to go to, so there's no way I can have someone sign off saying I'm not nuts. Would the JET people find out if I left it off? Does it matter anymore, as long as I'm fine now?

I DO have to go have my doctor for my current physical chronic condition fill out the form, but as he's a gastroenterologist, I don't know if they'd buy him signing off on my mental health too.

Shincantsen
November 1st, 2013, 05:42
This is up to your judgement.

JET probably won't be calling doctors or trying to get medical files, and it's likely they'd never find out. But if they do find out, your application will be disqualified, and you will likely be disqualified from applying in the future. They take mental illness very seriously.

Gizmotech
November 1st, 2013, 07:34
It's your choice. For me, I wouldn't bother telling them. Just keep in mind if this does reoccur while in Japan and renders you incapable of doing your work, many of our contracts have a "did not provide full and accurate information" termination area, which means they could fire your ass if it's a previous event... if they wanted to which I doubt they would unless it became a huge problem.

uthinkimlost?
November 1st, 2013, 08:12
Also keep in mind that while you are fine in the warm and loving bosom of your home nation, even people with no history of issues can get depressed or anxious in Japan. There is also little in the way of decent psychological help, especially in the deep inaka. Make sure you really understand what you can tolerate before you come.

coop52
November 1st, 2013, 08:17
I saw a shrink and took some anxiety meds for a couple of months in my first year of high school, didn't write it on the form since I hadn't had issues since then. Still fine now. I'm pretty sure I was just in a weird emo phase that I would have outgrown anyway. If I remember correctly from when I applied, they only asked for major illnesses from the past seven years or so, but they might have changed it. I didn't put down that I had chickenpox as a kid either, for the record. It's kind of hard to judge how moving to another country will affect you though, so it might be a good idea to put it down anyway.

Jiggit
November 1st, 2013, 08:47
Also keep in mind that while you are fine in the warm and loving bosom of your home nation, even people with no history of issues can get depressed or anxious in Japan. There is also little in the way of decent psychological help, especially in the deep inaka. Make sure you really understand what you can tolerate before you come.

I knew someone was going to post this, I thought it would be word or gizmo though.

Ini
November 1st, 2013, 08:56
mental health issues as well as chronic physical conditions? good luck with that application........

Antonath
November 1st, 2013, 09:06
Ini and UTIL might be jumping to conclusions here, but CLAIR does take mental health issues seriously. Perhaps not enough to exclude you from consideration, but if you do list it on the medical form, I'd imagine there would be some questions at the interview stage.

Check how far back you have to list, if nothing else. Usually the forms only want a few years back, not everything ever.

uthinkimlost?
November 1st, 2013, 09:08
I knew someone was going to post this, I thought it would be word or gizmo though.

Meh. Needs to be said, even if no one ever listens. I've met enough ALTs here with obvious emotional difficulties.

PaddyPakku
November 1st, 2013, 09:13
On the topic of medical issues, is anybody aware of any bias in the application screening against people with medical conditions like cancer or other health related issues?

Ini
November 1st, 2013, 09:19
if you are "cancer free" then no, if you are as bald as walter white and are taking a cocktail of drugs everyday just to prolong your inevitable premature death then your app will probably end up being used as toilet paper.

Gizmotech
November 1st, 2013, 10:41
I knew someone was going to post this, I thought it would be word or gizmo though.

The tone and language of the post led me to believe it wasn't the usual chronic depressive emos, but someone who is probably ready to rock and roll. I just figured cautioning on the relapse point.

Usually I would have posted what UTIL said though...

dstin
November 1st, 2013, 11:56
They will only find out if they check this forum and your email address on the application is CrouchingMouse@blahblahblah...

If you want to get hired I'd recommend probably not mentioning it, but to reinforce what others have said really think if you can handle it. If going to college and have those experiences and being on your own and not having anyone you know or relate to was a factor in why you were taking meds at the beginning college, then seriously consider it because living overseas can be pretty sucky sometimes in those regards.

wicket
November 1st, 2013, 13:26
No bias with history of cancer - I had first-hand experience of that.

With mental health issues I agree with UTIL - be very very sure that you want to go. Coping in rural Japan will be nothing like coping back home; the last thing you need is to go through all that crap again.


On the topic of medical issues, is anybody aware of any bias in the application screening against people with medical conditions like cancer or other health related issues?

wicket
November 1st, 2013, 13:27
if you are "cancer free" then no, if you are as bald as walter white and are taking a cocktail of drugs everyday just to prolong your inevitable premature death then your app will probably end up being used as toilet paper.
Good to see you've mellowed, Ini.

Jiggit
November 1st, 2013, 13:35
Wicket did you put the dementia on your form when you applied? I can't imagine they wouldn't have found out eventually if you'd lied about it.

MJN
November 1st, 2013, 14:08
Could just have claimed he forgot if found out.

dstin
November 1st, 2013, 14:23
Hmm, is the Authorization and Release Form even valid in the US?
I thought HIPAA requests were required to have both an expiration date and a clause informing the patient of the right to revoke the authorization?

Antonath
November 1st, 2013, 14:26
http://robrien.orconhosting.net.nz/Careful%20Now.jpg

wicket
November 1st, 2013, 15:39
Wicket did you put the dementia on your form when you applied? I can't imagine they wouldn't have found out eventually if you'd lied about it.
i like you. you funny.

tedcase
November 1st, 2013, 21:05
Even a completely sane and well rounded person like myself found rural Japan challenging at times. They need to know you have the mental robustness required to handle it.

CrouchingMouse
November 2nd, 2013, 00:54
Thanks for the responses guys. I really do believe I've put all that behind me, and honestly I'm not sure I ever should've been on antidepressants in the first place, which is the main reason I stopped taking them. I never had problems being homesick at college, and I was able to cope alright when I spent a few months in Japan last year.

If "finding Japan challenging" were all it took to keep people from applying, they wouldn't have anyone doing the program at all. Part of the damn point is to push yourself outside your comfort zone to go be part of an international experience. I know all you guys have to judge me on are my posts and most of you have a bias against mental health issues, but since I know myself pretty well I think I'm up to the challenge. I don't need a psychological evaluation, I just wanted to know if there was any way they could find out if I left it off. I just don't have time to schedule an appointment with a shrink to get it signed off on.

b23784
November 2nd, 2013, 03:54
Everybody is mentioning that if JET were to find out that you lied about your medical history, they will kick you out. But has this actually happened to anyone? I was searching around because I'm in a similar situation (took some medications a few years ago, but not anymore) and was wondering if I should just lie on my application. I found a lot of people saying "theoretically, if they found out..." but nobody actually talked about getting caught while doing this. I can't really think of any way they could find out about this.

Shincantsen
November 2nd, 2013, 04:25
Hypothetically, if you were to get a recommendation letter, and the professor was trying to be nice, and mentioned that you were being treated for depression but still were trying your best in class, and there was no mention of depression on your Medical Form, you'd be disqualified. There are any number of ways it might come up. So no, JET probably won't be calling your doctors or rifling through your medical files, but it's still a risk.

tedcase
November 2nd, 2013, 05:27
You just have to decide for yourself if "lying" and "failing to mention something" are the same.

uthinkimlost?
November 2nd, 2013, 09:05
Everybody is mentioning that if JET were to find out that you lied about your medical history, they will kick you out. But has this actually happened to anyone? I was searching around because I'm in a similar situation (took some medications a few years ago, but not anymore) and was wondering if I should just lie on my application. I found a lot of people saying "theoretically, if they found out..." but nobody actually talked about getting caught while doing this. I can't really think of any way they could find out about this.

Honestly, no, they probably won't know. Not once you're hired. (Although once you do go get your diddly bits inspected pre-departure, if it is in your records it might be mentioned then.) If you got on the program, by the time they found out you would have already melted down.

That said, by the time they find your secret, you've melted down. Which HAS happened.

tedcase
November 2nd, 2013, 09:18
Dunno how worried I would be about the Jet bods finding out about things like that, I knew a guy on JET who didn't have a degree.

Merkypie
November 2nd, 2013, 13:39
Thanks for the responses guys. I really do believe I've put all that behind me, and honestly I'm not sure I ever should've been on antidepressants in the first place, which is the main reason I stopped taking them. I never had problems being homesick at college, and I was able to cope alright when I spent a few months in Japan last year.

If "finding Japan challenging" were all it took to keep people from applying, they wouldn't have anyone doing the program at all. Part of the damn point is to push yourself outside your comfort zone to go be part of an international experience. I know all you guys have to judge me on are my posts and most of you have a bias against mental health issues, but since I know myself pretty well I think I'm up to the challenge. I don't need a psychological evaluation, I just wanted to know if there was any way they could find out if I left it off. I just don't have time to schedule an appointment with a shrink to get it signed off on.

I'm going to assume that your stint in Japan was through an exchange program, correct? Being an exchange student in Japan and living in Japan on your own with bills and other daily stresses from the general Japanese workforce are completely two different things. This is why the JET Program is really picky and dead serious when it comes to people with mental health issues -- Japan lacks a strong support system for those with mental issues to the point that its usually a hush hush under the table type of deal.

So when a JET has that breakdown, there isn't going to be a system there to get that JET back on his or her feet. The coworkers won't understand the issue, the hospital won't really know what to do with you and it sort of just goes downhill from there. Which means that eventually JET is gonna boogie out and its just a big cost on both the CO and the JET.

Yes, its an international experience but its still life. A life in another country with different customs and attitudes. In the middle of nowhere where English and the conveniences of your home country are either really expenses or non-existent. With a job that may or may not be for you. On the weekends, you can explore Japan and live up the international experience but 5 days of the week you gotta put up with the day to day bullshit of being a working government employee in Japan.

So, what I'm trying to say is that don't brush it off. Do not lie about it. You may know you, but you definitely don't know Japan. You don't know if there will be something in Japan that will trigger you into having a panic/anxiety attack that could really fuck with you or your job performance. You don't want to be put in a situation where you can get screwed over due to the fact that you didn't disclose your medical history.

AVN
November 2nd, 2013, 21:20
I just have to say there are a lot of assumptions being thrown around. Assumptions about the OP, assumptions about people with a history of mental illness, and assumptions about those without a history.
I just want to say that if the O.P. (or anyone else with a history of mental illness) went through proper treatment, medical or not, there is a good chance they have a very good understanding of themselves, their triggers, their limits, and the risks of doing something as extreme as moving to another country. You might even say better than some people who have no history of mental illness. I know from experience, and talking to many other JETs with a history of problems (ranging from anxiety to depression and beyond) that going through treatment, and regaining control of your life gives you a very firm understanding of your own limits, needs, and coping mechanisms than you had before.

This being said, if a person is still under treatment, or was recently under treatment their best bet is to consult a professional in private and ask them if they would consider it wise for them to enter a program like JET. If the professional were uncertain or leery then there is no question it should be disclosed.

Whether or not you disclose this condition is a very personal choice.

HorseFeathers
November 7th, 2013, 07:58
So I have a question.

I was recently (about 2 or 3 years ago) diagnosed with Graves Disease, hyperthyroidism. My thyroid was checked out- completely cancer free. It is a lifelong illness. It is known for going into remission and then never cropping up again though. I went on medication and eventually mine also went into remission. I have been off medication for about six or seven months now and I made sure to include all of these in my application and had my physician verify that my thyroid is currently under control on my form. If there were an issue of the illness cropping back up, medication is accessible in Japan for my condition.

So my question is, could I be discriminated against because I have this illness? It really doesn't affect my daily life at all beyond that my hands occasionally tremor and I sometimes have a larger appetite than I should. The illness was caught long before it started to effect me adversely so I'm actually pretty lucky all things considered. But I am worried that a thing like Graves Disease (the ominous name it has) on my application might get me disqualified.

Merkypie
November 7th, 2013, 08:02
They can't discriminate against you. It's against hiring practices in America to discriminate over medical conditions. There are many people on the program with various illnesses and diseases. As long as you have a strong application, you'll get an interview. The medical history is for placement purposes and to make sure that you can leave the country if you are currently being treated for such illnesses.

HorseFeathers
November 7th, 2013, 08:05
They can't discriminate against you. It's against hiring practices in America to discriminate over medical conditions. There are many people on the program with various illnesses and diseases. As long as you have a strong application, you'll get an interview. The medical history is for placement purposes and to make sure that you can leave the country if you are currently being treated for such illnesses.

Awesome. That's a relief.

uthinkimlost?
November 7th, 2013, 08:06
They can't discriminate against you. It's against hiring practices in America to discriminate over medical conditions. There are many people on the program with various illnesses and diseases. As long as you have a strong application, you'll get an interview. The medical history is for placement purposes and to make sure that you can leave the country if you are currently being treated for such illnesses.

'In America.'

You aren't employed until you get here.

HorseFeathers
November 7th, 2013, 08:09
'In America.'

You aren't employed until you get here.

So you disagree? You think they would discriminate?

uthinkimlost?
November 7th, 2013, 08:14
I know plenty of people here with one illness or another. (Merkypie has a strong case of the backtalks.) Whether or not there were others that were discriminated against and were not let in is anyone's guess. Assuming you have the same protections with this as you do when applying at the GAP is probably a mistake.

Honestly though, I think your condition is probably not to your detriment. They'll probably assume you'd be great with elementary school kids.

Ini
November 7th, 2013, 08:18
On the american side of things you'll be fine. However if you're given alternative status and the BOEs in Japan are looking at a couple of potential JETs chances are they will pick the healthier candidate because its less hassle for them to deal with. Your best bet is to have a perfect application and crush the interview so they will have no choice but to shortlist you. A shortlisted candidate not getting a placement is almost never heard of.

dstin
November 7th, 2013, 08:57
It's against hiring practices in America to ask questions most of the questions you'll get in the interview. They aren't exactly subject to American hiring practices.

If your doctor says that you're golden, I wouldn't worry too much about it because there is nothing you can do to change it.

Merkypie
November 7th, 2013, 09:48
(Merkypie has a strong case of the backtalks.)


And I'm still here! Anything is possible if you believe!!

Ini
November 7th, 2013, 09:50
there was jordon (scottish poster, i want to say last year but maybe 2 years back) who had the spazzy legs and he didnt get in but whos to say if it was because of his frail body

Jiggit
November 7th, 2013, 09:53
Merkypie lives in our prefecture too?

uthinkimlost?
November 7th, 2013, 09:55
What prefecture? I don't know you, sir.

word
November 7th, 2013, 09:59
http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll4/badgerspoon/Threadbombs/Macro-StarWars-StayOnTopic.jpg

Gizmotech
November 7th, 2013, 10:16
Discrimination has been addressed. Like ini said get short listed. Then they will take that into consideration for your placement so that you might not be stuck too far out in the inaka (just in case) and closer to a hospital that can help.

AVN
November 7th, 2013, 21:20
Discrimination has been addressed. Like ini said get short listed. Then they will take that into consideration for your placement so that you might not be stuck too far out in the inaka (just in case) and closer to a hospital that can help.

It's been addressed but the answers never satisfied me in regards to two issues.
First, if it comes down to two people with almost equal qualifications and a similar score on paper, but one has a history of depression and the other doesn't... You can't tell me it won't affect the chances of the former.
The second is subconscious discrimination. So they tell the people scoring the application to disregard the medical assessment, but telling someone to disregard something, or not take something into account doesn't actually mean the person is able to do that. It is similar to how jurors are asked to disregard a statement made in a trial but it can still affect the outcome.

PaddyPakku
November 7th, 2013, 21:36
I completely agree with you. There will always be at the very least, a subconscious level of discrimination against applicants with mental health issues, or even medical conditions. It's human nature do so, especially when reviewers are trying to assess a potential applicant's ability to cope in Japan for 1 year.
Having said that, the best thing anybody in that situation can do is make the rest of their application as strong as possible. Then, any detriments can be somewhat overlooked.

Gizmotech
November 7th, 2013, 22:34
AVN, at that point there is nothing wrong w/ that decision. Anyone is allowed to make that call assuming two equally qualified people, and given the position in question, I would absolutely chose the potentially more stable candidate over the other if all other options were equal. As for scoring, I've heard it's check boxes. Pretty hard to input any feelings into the check boxes that get most of the score sorted before the interview.

Like Ini said, don't get alternated. Mental health and physical illness is protected in the states, they can't disqualify you at that stage. Once it goes to the COs though, they can discriminate ALL THEY WANT. It's really easy. A short lister will 99% get placed. An Alternate with a potential problem will likely not be, given there are other alternates, and the CO can just keep asking for a new resume if they don't like the last one. And there's the rub, just like I said above, all things being equal (alternate list status), the candidate with less maintenance issues will win and matches their arbitrary criteria (Male, 22, blue eyes, desperate// or Landwhale).

Either way, As we have no way of knowing how that will affect things before placement, and have no control of things after placement, it doesn't really matter.

The facts are:
If you don't disclose it, and they find out, you will be disqualified (Lying) or potentially fired (relapse at work).
If you do disclose it, and don't ace everything, there is a chance it could negatively affect you as COs can absolutely discriminate against alternates
If you do disclose a medical condition with specific requirements, and you get shortlisted, CLAIR will do their best to ensure you are in a place where you can receive treatment. (IE not stuck in the 3 hour to somewhere BFI)

tedcase
November 7th, 2013, 22:45
Simple,

Ask yourself WHY they need to know these things.
JET can be stressful, especially if you are deep in the paddies with no-one to talk to for weeks at a time. They need to know that you are not going to get depressed, which is completely understandable.

If you have a history of mental illness, the chances of JET knocking you down is high. If the people at JET think your past mental condition is serious, the WILL take it into consideration. So if you put it on your app, you need to be clear that it is a problem that is resolved, and there is no chance of it happening again. This is your honest opinion, which can be backed up by a medical proffessional. Jet will take this into consideration, but to be honest, it is still a negative point. Don't worry, everyone will have negative points in their app, it's just up to you to compensate elsewhere.

The alternative is to not mention it at all. This is a risk on two counts. You will risk putting yourself into a seriously stressful situatiuon and risk damaging your long term mental health. Is a 1-3 year work programme really worth risking your health over?
The other risk with this plan is of course, JET finding out. I honestly couldn't tell you how much they check into these things, but my instincs tell me that they dont. The reason I say this is because I know of at least one JET who got on without finishing his degree. JET never found out.

Just think of the consequences of either course of action. Nobody can tell you what to do. It's up to you. Just seriously consider whether or not your mental health issues are truly resolved.

For what it's worth, If you are american, Which im guessing you are, they have a bad habit of medicating and diagnosing kids with all sorts of mental health crap when really there is nothing at all wrong. I dont doubt that if the average, unmedicated brit or Australian went to an american doctor, they would leave with a big bag of pills and a hefty bill.

TLDR,
Don't feel too bad about conflicting advice on here. Everyone has their own opinions, but take all the information on board and use it to make a descision. Nobody knows you as well as you do, so it's up to you to make the choice you think is right.

therealwindycity
November 8th, 2013, 10:30
Spot on, tedcase. I get the feeling that this was another case in which something was diagnosed that didn't really need to be. Personally, I wouldn't mention it considering how common it is in the US and that you haven't required any ongoing medication or counseling.

octagon
November 28th, 2013, 10:03
Everybody is mentioning that if JET were to find out that you lied about your medical history, they will kick you out. But has this actually happened to anyone? I was searching around because I'm in a similar situation (took some medications a few years ago, but not anymore) and was wondering if I should just lie on my application. I found a lot of people saying "theoretically, if they found out..." but nobody actually talked about getting caught while doing this. I can't really think of any way they could find out about this.

Applying for the US military requires a lot of the same things JET does, and in both cases what I've seen is that you could be a bona-fide schizophrenic and nobody would be the wiser-- there's no way to "test" for mental illness, and screening for these things is not part of either application process. The trick is this though-- the ways this sort of thing ever comes to light is if they (successfully) trigger a breakdown during boot camp, coerce you into confessing during the last-chance "moment of truth," if you have a breakdown in the field, or as a result of security clearance investigation. Then you get canned, and there are severe consequences. So if the long arm of the US military can't reliably discover things like these without forcing your hand, nobody at JET administration is going to have an easier time of it unless you freak out in the classroom or some kid finds your stray bottle of Seroquel.

tl;dr If you can keep your shit together then don't mention it in the application.

TomOmnomnom
January 22nd, 2014, 05:02
Hey! this is a bit late as the applications have closed! but I just stumbled cross these forums and thought it might be worth chiming in as when I was readying my application I couldn't find n awful lot of guidance in this department (I don't know how I missed this treasure!).

I was initially quite concerned about disclosing my previous mental history in my application, as I was sure that it would seriously hamper my chances. I was totally honest, and supplied a (pretty cringe-y and brutally honest) cover letter with my application. And lo and behold- I am scheduled for an interview next week. No doubt it'll be a discussion topic in the interview, but it is possible to get at least this far with a history of mental illness. So, I hope this is helpful to someone in the future. :D

triumphtr79
January 23rd, 2014, 07:21
I mentioned the meds I take in 2008 and got an interview but didn't get any further. I mentioned it this time around and didn't get anything. I've been living in Korea for 3 years and my doctor wrote in my Physicians Form that I'm very stable and able to live overseas without any issues. Like the above poster said, if you take meds for mental health issues there has to be some level of discrimination involved whether they like to admit it or not. I decided it's better to disclose it and risk not getting accepted for two reasons 1)if accepted they might take your situation into consideration and put you somewhere where you have access to meds 2)if you get caught lying you are fired.