How I tell my boss about my mental health issues?
1 in 4 UK adults suffer with a diagnosed mental health problem. Despite this, a study by CIPD revealed that 85% of employees still believe that there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health at work, whilst 58% wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing mental ill-health with their manager. Talking about mental health at work isn’t always easy. It’s common to worry about how this conversation may impact your working relationships or career growth. Yet creating an open dialogue about your mental health with your manager can be vital in ensuring that you have the support needed to thrive inside and outside of the workplace. We’ve compiled three tips to make tackling the taboo around workplace mental health a little easier:
- Decide who you want to tell and how much information you want to give. It’s entirely up to you how much information you want to disclose and to whom. For instance, you may not wish to share the personal circumstances which have exacerbated your mental health concerns, but do need your workplace to know how your mental health is impacting your working life. Similarly, you may wish to tell the human resources department about your health, but do not wish for this to be discussed with your supervisor or colleagues.
- Think about support you may need. In order to ensure your employer can best support you with your mental health, it can be useful to think about measures that may be helpful to you at this time. Maybe you need to adjust your working hours or reduce your workload? Perhaps remote working may be beneficial or you’re wondering how to access professional support? Many companies implement employee assistance programs (EAPs) which outline available resources to support employee wellbeing. It’s also okay if you don’t know what help you need right now. Try to be as honest as possible with your employer about the areas you’re struggling with so that they can help you strategize suitable support.
- Know your rights. The Equality Act (2010) protects disabled people, including those with a mental illness, from unfair treatment. A mental illness is considered a disability when it has had a long-term impact on your normal day-to-day activity. In this instance, your employer has a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for you to avoid disadvantage. These adjustments may include changes to your work environment, time off for treatment or changes to working hours. To find out more about the Equality Act (2010) visit: https://www.gov.uk/when-mental-health-condition-becomes-disability
While it can seem easier said than done, talking about your mental health to your employer is a courageous step towards a happier and healthier future.
Article provided by Action Mental Health Works.