It's not always easy to speak to friends and family about a mental health concerns, let alone a manager. But keeping a problem hidden at work could make it worse. So how should you approach the subject with your boss?
Here are some tips on sharing your mental health needs within your workplace:
Find a safe space to talk. Making sure you are comfortable and at ease while speaking to your manager is crucial. A quiet, private room where you and your boss aren't too constrained by time will make the conversation easier.
Ideally, your manager or supervisor would create a space for you to talk about any issues you're facing, be it personal or professional by regularly checking in with staff.
It depends on the relationship you have with your manager, but if you have a good relationship and trust them, you could meet them one to one to discuss what's going on and how you feel.
✔ Be open and honest. Being as truthful as you can be about a concern or issue is essential as it will help your employer understand what you need.
It is beneficial to be succinct about your feelings. It might also be helpful to have a note from your doctor to explain what the problem is, how it may affect you and what adjustments might help you manage your work.
It is becoming more common to find workplaces where people feel able to talk about their wellbeing and mental health as attitudes begin to change, more companies and organisations are asking the right questions and taking the right steps to start the conversation with their employees.
✔ Offer realistic suggestions. Ultimately, it is up to your employer to decide the best way to provide support, but you can suggest reasonable changes including: changes to your working area, changes to your working hours or perhaps working from home.
If you need to, have someone from HR there. Having someone from HR present will make the meeting more formal, and normally wouldn't be necessary in the first instance. But if you didn't get anywhere with the first meeting then it might be a sensible next step.
✔ Remember your rights. If you have a mental health problem and you want the protection of the Equality Act, you have to tell your employer about it.
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have a legal duty to provide reasonable adjustments for an employee who has a disability, which can include a mental health problem if it has a substantial, adverse, and long-term effect on normal day-to-day activities.
Typically, when it comes to mental health problems, these are small, inexpensive changes, such as more regular catch ups with managers, change of workspace, working hours, or breaks.
But we know that too often, people stay quiet, fearing being deemed incapable, unable to cope or weak. Simply put it should not be like this.
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