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How to disclose your mental health issue to your employer

When you suffer from a mental health condition, it can be difficult to tell others about your diagnosis. It is, of course, entirely your decision whether you choose to share this personal information. When it comes to your employment, you are also not obliged to tell your employer unless you deem it to be necessary. […]

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When you suffer from a mental health condition, it can be difficult to tell others about your diagnosis. It is, of course, entirely your decision whether you choose to share this personal information.

When it comes to your employment, you are also not obliged to tell your employer unless you deem it to be necessary. But considering that 14.7% of individuals suffer from a mental health condition in the workplace, it is important to remember that you are not alone in your struggles.

If you have noticed that your mental health significantly affects your performance at work, it’s probably time to speak to your employer. Your social anxiety may be prohibiting you from engaging in discussions in the board room, or your depression and unwillingness to get out of bed may be making you late to work every day. By being honest with your boss, they can put provisions in place to provide appropriate support. Here is some advice to help you disclose your mental health issue to your employer.
Did you know that setting better goals can also help with your anxiety?

Be aware of your rights

If your mental health condition is disabling your ability to do your job properly, then your employer must make appropriate adjustments to help you. This may include reducing your working hours, giving you permission to take time off for treatment, being assigned a mentor, or allowing you to work at home. It is a good idea to think about what arrangement would help you the most before you initiate the conversation.

Find an appropriate setting

Finding the right time to tell your boss about your diagnosis is essential. Make sure you speak to them in a quiet, private environment. Try to step away from the office to reduce the likelihood of questions from your peers about why you called a meeting.

Be honest

Don’t be scared to tell your employer exactly how your condition affects your work on a daily basis. After all, your employer will want you to be able to do your job to the best of your ability, so it is in their best interests to support you. In fact, implementing better mental health support at work could save businesses up to £8 billion a year, so they will want to do everything they can to help you to feel valued in your role, regardless of your difficulties.

The psychological benefits of opening up

Opening up to someone about your mental health, even if it is just your employer, can have significant psychological benefits. Not only will it feel as if a massive weight has been lifted off your shoulders, but your boss may also be able to offer a solution to any concerns. For example, if your anxiety is prohibiting you from raising a concern with a colleague, your boss may be able to act on your behalf or suggest other, less daunting ways of communicating.

Self-esteem is actually a very important trait which can be boosted by self-care.

This advice may help you in the workplace, but if you want to make progress in coming to terms with your diagnosis and alleviating your symptoms, then you ought to consider seeking professional help.
As a Health Psychologist, I can provide you with advice on how to manage your mental health at work and make behavioural changes to achieve a better quality of life. If you want to make a health behaviour change, sign up for this four-day free challenge for practical tips and action steps to take along the way.

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