Featured Post: Coping with Mental Health Problems at Work
Women suffer more mental health problems at work
Alice Bell looks at why women are suffering more with their mental health and how to deal with the issues in the workplace
What affects 20% of workers at any one time, costs businesses $40bn a year in America alone, and is behind 5 out of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide? It’s not cancer, obesity, or heart disease, but mental health problems.
One study estimated that 40% of days off are due to stress or depression. And because women are more likely to work in demanding industries like healthcare or teaching, they are more likely than men to suffer mental health problems at work.
SHOULD YOU INFORM YOUR EMPLOYER ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS AT WORK?
When dealing with mental health problems at work, the first big question is whether to tell your boss. In theory, most companies are legally required to make reasonable accommodation for an employee with mental health issues. In practice, discrimination is rife, and even the mental health charity Mind says you shouldn’t disclose if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
A lot of people decide not to talk about their mental health problems at work. While it’s always a personal decision, keeping your problems a secret can cause more trouble in the long run. Apart from the stress of keeping secrets, mental illness often leads to a decline in performance, and if your manager doesn’t know you’re unwell they may assume that you’re being careless.
HAVE A CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATION
If you tell your manager, decide in advance what you want to get from the conversation. Do you want to change your working hours? Are there duties you can no longer perform? It’s the same as any other issue in the workplace: your boss wants to hear solutions, not problems. (See examples of common health adjustments here)
A good framework for the conversation is to name your condition, describe the ways in which it affects your performance, underline all the areas which you can still do well, and finally to suggest accommodations which would help. Try to think of some back-up suggestions in case your first idea turns out to be unworkable.
If your boss is totally unreceptive, you may need to gently remind them of their legal obligations.
Worth sharing: Free Podcast - How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace
Try saying something like “Under [applicable law in your country], employers have to make reasonable accommodation for employees with medical conditions. I hear that [suggestion] isn’t possible, so let’s discuss other accommodations which would work for both of us.” Take notes of all discussions, and keep copies of any emails you send. Collect an evidence trail, just in case, while hoping you never need to use it.
The stigma against mental health problems will never disappear while people hide and lie about their problems. If you have good reason to expect that your employer will be unreasonable, then by all means keep it a secret; but each person who opens up about their problems contributes a little bit to lessening the culture of shame.
Do you need help with workplace communication or career advice? Don’t wait. Contact us now.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
We have Remote Learning Programs available
Check out our exciting portfolio of offerings to support your business in upskilling and competence building for your teams, to address the unprecedented challenges that women face in this new totally a digital world.
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
I posed this question to my LinkedIn network “Should candidates take and read notes in interviews… or not?” Who would have thought that it could have generated such a heated discussion. The career and hiring sector is clearly not on the same page on this issue.read more
Virtual Presentations – Managing The Chat! 5 years later the expert guidance on virtual presentations hasn’t changed by more than a pinch..read more
Read our interview with Lara Morgan best selling author, millionaire entrepreneur, proud mother of three. She is determined to be a voice for growth enterprise support as well as driving sales pride in Britain.read more