- Research reveals that mental health disorders in employees have skyrocketed in recent years.
- Experts have suggested ways to talk about mental health at work with colleagues and employers.
Mental Health Challenges At Work
In the post-pandemic period, work-related mental health challenges are at an all-time high. Research attributes poor employee mental health to factors like:
- Health concerns about self, family, and friends
- Perception of safety
- Threat and risk of contagion
- Infobesity versus the unknown
- Quarantine and confinement
- Stigma and social exclusion
- Financial loss
- Job insecurity
- Difficulty in coping with new work models like remote work, etc.
- Disrupted work-life balance
In fact, studies found that, worldwide, 45% of employees working for an employer reported anxiety or depression—against 30% of those who were self-employed. About 44% of full-time remote workers and 26% of full-time office workers also complained of mental health symptoms like zoom fatigue, attention deficiency, boredom, dampened creativity, headache disorders, job burnout, etc.
Why Is It Important To Talk About Mental Health At Work?
Working full-time while struggling with mental health issues can negatively affect your professional life, including job productivity, communication, task performance, physical functioning, etc.
Therefore, it is helpful to talk about your mental health with your employer and fellow employees—so that they may help you deal better with your mental health challenges at work.
By disclosing your mental health struggles, you can avail positive benefits like:
- Mental health leaves
- Therapy sessions
- Workplace mental health programs
- Mental health workshops
- Flexible work hours
- Remote working facilities, etc.
How To Talk To Your Boss About Your Mental Health
Communicating to your co-workers about your mental health struggles can be helpful in the long run. They will be understanding and sympathetic to your circumstances and may help you manage the workload, time off from work, etc.
On the other hand, most often than not, discussing mental health with your boss can be a sensitive subject. You may be sufficiently influenced by factors (like gender, diagnosis, employee approach, job security, etc.). Nonetheless, while these fears are valid, communicating your mental health problems to your boss comes with promising positives.
Consider the following measures to communicate about mental health to your boss and co-workers:
- Make disclosure decisions based on workplace contexts
- Make appointments beforehand
- Come prepared with questions and answers
- Communicate with the human resources department
- Communicate honestly about workload and how it’s affecting your mental health
- Draw a fine line between supportive involvement and over-sharing
- Keep an open mind to their feedback
- Consider how they can help you in your recovery, without disrupting their own mental health and work-life balance
Such a move to talk about mental health at work may successfully address your mental health challenges at work, help with job performance, and allow you to be more present at the workplace.
Meghan Bohlman, an American mental health practitioner, remarked: “Disclosure is efficacious and, in some ways, works better for some people more than others. Whether you are an employer or an employee, you can utilize mental health disclosure to become more open and understanding.”