According to Mental Health America, nearly one in five American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year, and almost 50% of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life.
The stress of daily life, as well as outside factors like the coronavirus pandemic, can put a serious strain on people with mental health conditions. If you are finding that your mental health is affecting your work performance and team relationships, you might be wondering if you should disclose your mental health diagnosis or struggles to your boss or coworkers.
The stigma of mental illness keeps many people in the workplace silent on this issue despite the prevalence of mental health conditions in America. You might be afraid of judgment from your peers or even potentially losing your job.
Disclosing your mental health conditions is a personal choice, but the National Alliance on Mental Illness encourages people to share with their boss or others in your workplace because it can lead to you receiving accommodations that are within your civil rights. According to the Social Security Administration, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects people suffering from mental illness both through anti-discrimination rules and job accommodations.
It can feel so much easier to ask for flex time or a day working from home when it comes to your physical health or major life events like having a baby. But according to the World Health Organization, mental health is an essential component of your overall health.
Much like you might inform your boss about a physical health issue, you can have a short, frank and professional talk disclosing your mental health condition, what you’re able to handle and in what ways you need support. If you need information regarding how to disclose a mental illness or request an accommodation, you should consult your employee handbook or other human resources materials or professionals that your company employs.
It can be a stressful and intimidating step to take, but whether you’re tired of hiding, suffering from burnout or dealing with symptoms that are interfering with your performance, it might be time to have a conversation at work about your mental health. Talking to your boss as well as your coworkers can help improve your well-being as well as make you better and more effective at your job.