Restorations Therapy Blog

How To Communicate Mental Health Needs in the Workplace

by on Friday, October 22nd, 2021

People do not only suffer from mental health disorders when they are in their homes alone. Triggers may be present anywhere in your social, working, or private lives. Learning to live, let alone go to work, with your disorder can be a challenge. That’s why seeking support offered to employees with mental health disorders is essential. 

Mental health is becoming increasingly discussed in today’s society, but the fear of stigmas surrounding them remains. For this reason, it may feel intimidating or inappropriate to talk with your employer about your mental health. However, many employers have programs in place to help those struggling, and taking advantage of those programs can help your success.

Why Is It Important? 

If you live with a mental health disorder, it is essential to be aware of your limits and triggers so you can live a healthier life by working with your diagnosis. According to the CDC, mental illnesses are associated with higher rates of unemployment. For this reason, finding ways to work with your mental health disorder is crucial.

In the workplace, seeking support for your mental illness can prevent:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Feeling misunderstood
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Burn out or quitting

Communicating these needs and seeking support in your workplace can increase your productivity and relationships. The conversation may be challenging, but it will be comforting knowing someone is on your side.  

How to Communicate Your Needs

At this point, you may be aware of how your mental health disorder affects your everyday life and wish to take steps to live healthily and productively. Already, this is an incredible feat. It shows that you are looking out for yourself by prioritizing your well-being over the comfortability of staying quiet. 

If you find yourself not being able to relax after a day of work because you can’t free yourself from the stress, it could be beneficial to take the time to see what your employer can do to help.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for sharing your mental health challenges with your employer:

#1. Know Yourself

Identify how your mental illness affects your abilities at work. If you have ADHD, maybe you find it beneficial to doodle during a meeting. Your boss may see this as disrespectful or think you’re not listening. Had they been aware of your difficulties concentrating, though, they would have never made that judgment. 

Being able to communicate with your boss that you are aware of the areas you struggle with and why shows you take your success seriously and helps build rapport. 

#2. Identify Why You Need to Talk

The reason why you need to have a conversation about your mental illness with your employer may vary depending on your situation. You may only be able to work until a particular hour because you have insomnia, or you could benefit from multiple five-minute breaks instead of a full fifteen. Once you are aware of the areas you need help in, the quicker you can receive assistance.

Identifying your limits requires you to question yourself about what isn’t working in your current situation. What causes the stress and distractions from your work? When do you find yourself becoming overwhelmed at work? 

It is better to communicate with your employer about your mental health disorder before it seriously impacts your performance.

#3. Seek Out Someone You Trust

In a perfect world, you would visit someone from Human Resources with your inquiries about resources and accommodations for employees with mental illness. However, it is not always so simple. 

Talking about your mental illness can be difficult, even with those you are most comfortable with. That’s why it is essential to identify a supervisor, manager, or department head that you trust to disclose this information to. 

#4. Plan Your Words

Making a list of your concerns can help you stay on track when it comes time to communicate with your employer about mental health. With these concerns, you can explain how they negatively affect your productivity. 

You can disclose as many details as you feel comfortable with. If you don’t want to be too specific, talk generically about stress, anxiety, or depression. You can also begin the conversation by inquiring about support or programs for employees with mental health disorders.

Ultimately, expressing mental health needs at work will allow a much more pleasant work environment for you, which will enhance creativity and satisfaction. Instead of remaining stressed after a workday, you can spend more time focusing on your health and wellness. 

Once you are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, it is essential you become aware of your triggers to maintain your wellbeing and healthy life. When you become aware of your needs surrounding mental wellness, there may come a time where you will need to communicate these needs to your employer. This conversation may be daunting, but you can take steps prior to the discussion that can help ensure you are being accommodated. Knowing yourself, telling someone you trust, and working toward a healthier work environment will improve your life in and outside of work. If you find yourself struggling with knowing and enforcing boundaries in your life after a mental health diagnosis, Restorations Therapy is here for you. Through services such as group and individual counseling, you can learn where you are being held back from your potential. Call us today at (720) 446 -6585 to take the first steps toward your journey of healing. 

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