Asking for help can be difficult, but if your mental health is affecting your work it’s important that you speak to your employer about the support you can get. Here at Careers with Disabilities, we ensured that mental health conditions are taken as seriously as physical conditions.
According to the leading mental health charity Mind, one in four people experience mental health problems every year in England. And one in six reports experiencing more common mental health difficulties every week. This data shows that mental health affects all of us. And that means that it needs to be addressed and taken seriously in the workplace. There is no shame in asking for support at work. While an employer can’t solve all of your problems, they can remove any additional barriers you face. And ensure you have the right support to thrive in your role.
Tips for managing your mental health at work
Confide in a colleague first
If you are anxious about raising your well-being with a manager, start by confiding in a colleague. This can help to prepare you for speaking with somebody more senior. As well as helping you to feel supported by those around you. The greater the dialogue around mental health at work, the more people will feel comfortable asking for help. So, know that when you raise it, you may be helping somebody else to seek support.
Enquire about what mental health services your company offers
Many larger companies offer support to their staff in the form of free therapy and counselling. You may not even have to speak to your manager about this. You can often find information about it on your staff portal or website. This therapy will usually be provided by a third-party provider and is completely confidential.
There may be some small changes to your responsibilities or to your schedule which could help to ease the burden of any mental health problems that you are facing. For example, it may suit you better to start later and work later, or you may feel more comfortable working at home a couple of days a week. Whatever it is, open up a conversation with your manager so you can find a working pattern that suits your needs. You may even be able to get help from Access to work.
A Wellness Action Plan (WAP) is a growing tool being used by employers and employees across the UK to track our health at work and monitor what improves it and what causes it to suffer. WAP’s are a way to open up a conversation between an employer and employee about their mental health and how their work affects it. You can find out more information on the Mind website.
Remember that everything you say to your employer is entirely confidential. You should trust that your feelings and experiences are going to be taken seriously and treated with respect by your manager. The only time they may have to break confidentiality is if they feel there is a serious threat to your wellbeing.
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