If you’re someone who finds it difficult functioning in your workplace due to your mental health, you most certainly are not alone.
There are nearly four million people across Australia who live with some form of mental health condition, with rates up by eight per cent since 2011.
Despite the issue being so prevalent in society however, many still feel uncomfortable bring up their mental health condition with their boss.
Employees are now being encouraged to be more open about their mental health, as this may help to alleviate stressors relating to asking for time off or productivity related matters.
Here are some things worth considering when contemplating bringing your mental health up with your boss:
Know your rights
You are under no obligation to tell anyone about your mental health, however it may be beneficial if it is affecting your ability to work. Workplaces should have a mental health policy in place which falls under your allocated number of sick days. All Australian workplaces must practice anti-discrimination laws which means they’re obliged to make reasonable changes to support you to do your job. They also have a legal responsibility to maintain your privacy.
Talk to a professional
Speaking with your GP or healthcare professional may help to understand your condition and the support best suited to. It’s important not to judge yourself on whether your condition is “bad enough” to warrant help and instead let your trusted professional of choice decide the severity of your case. Your GP or psychologist may be able to assist in ways you can approach the situation with your boss.
Open the line of communication
If you do opt to tell your boss about your mental health condition, its best to do so in an environment of your choice that is both comfortable and private. You should enter the conversation having already decided how much or how little about your personal condition you want to share with your boss. Consider what you want to divulge and how this may affect your work, whether your working conditions affect your mental health, or if you would like to ask for some extended time off.