If you look around your workspace, would you be able to know how many of your co-workers are struggling with mental health issues? Probably not. Mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, panic attacks, bipolar and personality disorders are still not talked about openly, especially at the workplace. The dialogue has started on social media. Even Bollywood celebrities including Deepika Padukone and Karan Johar have gone on record to discuss their mental health issues, but there's still a long way to go.
It may be difficult to talk to your boss or manager about what you're going through because there's still stigma attached to it. Initiating such a conversation can be daunting and it’s natural to feel apprehensive, but your emotional health is as important as physical one. You would take time off if you had flu, right? So, if you're suffering from anxiety or depression, you should learn how to take care of your mental health and bring it up with your manager. Need help with how to start the conversation? We have listed some tips on how you can talk to your boss or manager about your mental health condition.
Try not to panic and presume that the conversation will go badly. Breaking it into steps will make it more manageable. Here we have listed seven ways to talk to your boss about your mental health.
It’s always your choice to decide whether you want to talk about your mental health condition at your workplace or not. But if it is affecting your work, we’d suggest you start a healthy dialogue. The best way to know when to bring it up if understanding your situation. Just ask yourselves these questions and if any one of them is true, go for it.
- Have your relationships at workplace declined?
- Are you not meeting your deadlines?
- Are you being given less work?
- If your performance lagging?
- Are you not regular to office?
Depending on your situation, you might want to speak to a trusted colleague before you speak to your boss. Having a work friend who knows about your situation is beneficial as he/she can help you with the excess workload on your worst days. You can even mention to your work buddy that you are thinking of talking to your boss about your mental health condition. If you have someone to support you through this, it will be easier.
So, finding the right time and the right place to talk to your boss about your condition is important. Make sure that you approach your boss on a day when things are calm and settled in office. Talking to your boss on a day of chaos might not be a great idea. If your office doesn’t have a quiet place, try to schedule an informal meeting with your boss outside your office or you can just go for a walk.
It’s always better to go to your boss as prepared as possible, right? Rather than just telling them your diagnosis, it’s better to go to them with solutions. You may want to explain how your mental health problem is affecting your work and how some adjustments will allow you to perform better. If you think that working from home on your problematic days will keep you calm and stay on course, you can make a suggestion. Of course, the same will have to be approved by your boss.
You should have an open mind while talking to your boss as they might be willing to make some suggestions too. They may have dealt with a similar situation in the past and might not the best way to help you out. Don't discount their ideas, but really consider what they're saying before making any decisions.
Going to the Human Resources department will be beneficial if you do not share a good rapport with your boss or you’ve tested the waters and gotten the impression that he/she won’t be understanding enough. Also, the HR team is better trained and equipped to assist in complicated situations.
Always remember that even if decide to talk to your boss about your mental illness, it’s always better to maintain your privacy. You only have to reveal as much as you are comfortable with. It goes without saying that no one is going to compel you to talk about your mental health problems at work but we suggest that letting your manager know about mental health concerns will help you deal with them better.