Deciding whether or not to tell your employer and colleagues about your mental health problem can be difficult.
Some people say being able to talk openly with their employer has really helped them. Others may not agree.
Some tips if you decide to tell your employer:
- Remember you are not alone – one in three have experienced mental health problems while in employment but with the right support many people can balance their health with the demands of a job.
- It’s your choice – disclosure of mental health issues at work is a personal choice, and you can say as much or as little as you want. If you need more support, being open can help you get it.
- Request a one-to-one meeting with your manager – Get some private time where you can discuss your mental health, how it relates to your work, and what might help you manage your health so you can perform well.
- Remember you are the expert on your needs – agree a plan of changes with your manager and a time to meet again to discuss whether things have improved. If you’re not sure what might help, try small experimental steps, and make a note of whether they help or not.
- You have rights – if your boss is unhelpful or dismissive, remember they have legal duties under the Equality Act to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ and not discriminate in recruiting, retaining or promoting staff. Mental health problems are a disability under the Act so you are likely to be protected, but always seek legal advice.
Remember that with the right help people experiencing mental health problems can – and do – stay and perform well at work. You should not be treated badly at work because of your mental health condition. The law states that employers and others should not discriminate. Some areas, such as offering reasonable adjustments, work best if you disclose your mental health condition and then discuss with your employer what changes may help you. If you have a mental health problem that is a disability and you want the protection of the Equality Act, your employer needs to know this.
If you do decide to tell, think about how and when to do it, how much information you want to give, what kind of information and with whom to share it.