Before moving to the USA in 2011 I worked for several years in the British Civil Service, where part of my job involved interviewing people applying to receive, or continue to receive, sickness and disability benefits.

Of course there were many genuine cases and I met some great people who were coping bravely and cheerfully with disability, and those who were sick but wanted to do everything they could to help themselves get well again.

At the same time, the level of malingering I witnessed was staggering! There were people who had been "signed off" by doctors as unfit for work with depression or anxiety for years. They bounced into the office laughing and joking with friends, but when called for their interview adopted a shuffling gait and woebegone expression. Several times I overheard long-term claimants advise others about the best stories and behaviours to adopt in order to be diagnosed with depression.

Meanwhile my colleagues and I were so stressed out by our workload that most of us called in sick occasionally to stay home for a "mental health" day of our own.

On a brighter note - congratulations on your expanded business Dr Hershey. I've enjoyed your articles and am sorry to see you go. Very best wishes in your future work.

Grace Rostoker
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