How to Talk About Mental Health With Your Employer
In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environments, it’s becoming increasingly important to address mental health concerns openly and honestly. Just as we prioritise our physical well-being, it is essential to acknowledge our mental health too.
However, wearing your heart on your sleeve to an employer is something you’d maybe shy away from usually. You may have fears of being judged and whether or not this information could impact your professional standing.
The truth is that taking that step of having a conversation with your employer about your mental health may be the best decision you make to seek support and help you thrive in the workplace.
So, now’s the time to make that change, put yourself first and disclose exactly how you’re feeling for the sake of your mental health. Here are some considerations you may like to think about:
Speak to your GP about your mental health symptoms first
Your GP can be an incredible resource when it comes to disclosing your mental health to your employer. They’re experienced in navigating these conversations and can provide personalised advice based on your specific circumstances. They may also help you gain clarity on how to approach your employer in the best way.
First thing’s first is to tell your GP about your workplace environment and dynamics. Share any concerns or questions you have about your condition. They will offer insights into potential treatment options and whether a sick note might be necessary based on the impact of your mental health on your ability to work. The note could also disclose if any adjustments should be made to help you manage your work going forwards.
Plan for your desired outcome
Before you dive into a conversation about your mental health with someone at work, it may be worth taking some time to evaluate what you want to achieve from the discussion.
Are there any aspects of your job that contribute to your mental health challenges?
Take the time to consider what would make a real difference in your day-to-day experiences and be prepared to express these needs during the conversation.
For example, if you feel overwhelmed or unsupported in your role, requesting a mentor or regular catchups with your manager could provide the guidance and support you need to feel happier and regain a sense of control. Or, you may request to work from home occasionally, if you have a lengthy commute to create a better work/life balance.
Be open about your situation
When you feel ready to discuss your mental health with your employer, see it as an opportunity for both of you. Remember, the purpose of this conversation is to foster mutual understanding and collaboration. So, approach it with a conversational tone, just as though you’re having a casual discussion with someone you trust.
Start by expressing your genuine intention to perform at your best and let them know that seeking support is the first step to helping you achieve that goal.
Be sure to pick a time to get into this discussion when you’re feeling stronger emotionally, so you can clearly articulate your thoughts without becoming too overwhelmed.
Share some of the challenges you’ve faced at work and explain how they’ve affected your performance or productivity. By doing this, you’re helping your employer understand the difficulties you’ve encountered and why extra support or accommodations need to be made.
Offer a list of solutions to your employer
When having a conversation about your mental health with your employer, it can be helpful to present a list of potential solutions that can make your work life more manageable.
This will not only hopefully resolve the issue, but also demonstrates your proactive approach and problem-solving mindset. There are multiple solutions to consider, so think about suggesting those which best align with your needs:
- Flexible work arrangements: Explore the possibility of flexible work hours, remote work options, or compressed workweeks.
- Clear communication channels: Request regular check-ins with your supervisor or team to discuss progress and address any concerns. Open communication can help you feel supported and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding expectations and goals.
- Adjusted workload or deadlines: If you’ve been struggling with a heavy workload, discuss the possibility of reallocating tasks or adjusting deadlines.
- Team support and awareness: Encourage your employer to promote mental health awareness in the workplace and foster a supportive team culture. This can include organising workshops, inviting guest speakers, or implementing wellness initiatives that prioritise mental well-being.
If you believe that your current job is having a drastic impact on your mental health, you may like to think about having a job change.
Here at Inspiring Interns, we can support you in finding the most suitable grad job for you based on your preferred company culture and working arrangements. Get in touch today to chat with one of our expert team about new graduate job opportunities in your field.