How To Talk To Your Boss About Your Mental Health Struggles
If I were to ask you to name one person in your workplace who is struggling with mental health issues, would you be able to answer?
Probably not right away.
According to the CDC, 1 in 5 adults experience mental health struggles each year. With almost 60% of the adults part of the workforce, imagine how high mental health struggles at work must be.
In recent years, many workplaces have recognized the importance of having a ‘mental health talk’ or how important is to encourage its employees to take ‘mental health day’. Still, many people struggling with mental health hesitate to talk to their superiors about their issues.
Opening about mental health struggles at work doesn’t make you weak, rather it shows courage and it might even empower you and those around you struggling to bring up the same issues with their respective managers.
Why Is It Difficult To Talk About Mental Health?
As I’ve mentioned, recently, many big corporations and employers are steadily recognizing the importance of talking about mental health without the stigma attached to it. Still, many people are hesitant to open up about their struggles.
The harsh reality is that even after spreading awareness about mental health struggles, not all bosses in the world are not likely to respond positively when it comes to it.
Work is a big part of our day-to-day life and no matter how much you love your job, there might come days when you feel burnout and exhaustion. No one is immune to mental health-related issues – that’s the reality when it comes down to it. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance might help some but many people still struggle with maintaining a balance.
I’m positive that many of us have experienced some kind of work-related stress at work at one point which, in turn, must have affected our general well-being. Mental exhaustion, brain fog, job burnout, fatigue, all have a huge impact on our overall health and wellness.
For many, taking a day off or going on a vacation might help but for others, it might not be as simple as taking a mental health day.
Should I Talk To My Boss About My Mental Health?
Honestly, the decision is yours to make. If your struggles and state of mental health are affecting your performance at work, your productivity, or affecting your professional relationships negatively, then a frank and open discussion with your boss must be taken into consideration.
And as I said, the decision is yours. If your boss and you have a good working relationship, then talking to them might help you come up with effective solutions that may benefit your work relationship as well.
Understanding what are you struggling with exactly can help you understand how it is impacting your work and what changes can you and your boss can implement together to make sure your health is taken care of and doesn’t hamper your success. It can also allow you to reduce work stress.
Support from your boss can help you decrease the risk of experiencing symptoms that might affect your productivity, performance, and work relations.
Although, if your relationship with your boss isn’t good, then telling them about your mental health struggles might backfire. It is important (whether you have a good working relationship or not) to understand the people you work with and the laws concerning mental health at the workplace.
Many corporations, especially in the USA, are covered under the American Disabilities Act wherein you can receive mental health counseling sessions. For more on this, you can consult with your respective company HR.
What’s even more important to address is that mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or other psychological disorders cannot go away by taking a break from work. These serious conditions require ongoing support – from counselors, family, friends, and even colleagues.
If your boss is not aware of your struggles, they won’t be able to provide the support or resources you might need. If you want to perform successfully at work – even with your struggles – you need to have support from your managers and co-workers.
Why Talking About Mental Health At Workplace Is Important?
Disclosing your mental illness to your employer is not easy but at the same time, it is important. Being open and honest about your mental health can create a safe environment for those struggling with the same.
Disclosing your mental struggles can also help you get the help you might not be able to find on your own. It can help you put things into perspective and realize that you might not be alone in your struggles.
Sure, talking about it to your superior might be awkward but it might help if you want to improve. Remember, no one can discriminate against you because of your disorder or struggles.
Opening about your feelings is not easy and when it comes to opening up at a workplace, it can be uncomfortable. Make sure you talk to your boss only if you feel comfortable. Sharing such issues is a confidential and vulnerable matter. Only open up if you trust your employer to be discreet and mindful.
How To Talk To Your Boss About It?
Talking to your boss about anxiety, burnout, work stress, and other problems can be challenging but now that we know about the importance of talking to your boss about your mental health, you must understand how to do it:
1. Time It Right
Right place and the right time is an important factor here. Find a less hectic and quiet moment to have this talk. Avoid diving into such conversations in the middle of a busy day. Talking to your boss either first thing in the morning or after your shift is over.
If you feel comfortable writing them an email or talking over a call, then do it. If your working relationship is not good with your boss, then talk to a co-worker and ask for their advice. You can also ask for advice from your HR.
2. Consult Others, If You Need
If you feel you need another set of opinions before you talk to your boss, do it. If a co-worker knows about your struggles, they might be able to help you create a script before you approach your boss with your concerns.
3. Understand What You Need
Think about why you are telling your boss about your struggles. What do you need? Support? Resources? Counsel? Are you telling your boss this because your workload is too much and you need fewer responsibilities?
Before you go forward with your plans to talk to your superior, make a plan. If you’re unsure what do you need, then think more, research more.
Disclosing your mental health struggles to your boss can be stressful and challenging and it’s okay to feel anxious. We all struggle with stress, anxiety, burnout, exhaustion, and other mental health-related issues.
But remember, you deserve time and space to recover from whatever you’re struggling with. If you need to take a mental health day, do it. Whatever you need to feel better can be yours if you ask for it.
I hope the above tips help you talk to your boss about mental health. If you need help, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a message on our social media.
You are not alone!
Never be ashamed of your feelings!
We’re here for you.