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How to talk about mental health with your employer

career advice, wellbeing, stress management...

Everyone at some point in their lives will experience a stressful situation or period either in their personal lives or at work. Although a lot of headway has been made towards reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, it still remains a difficult topic to discuss at work. In recognition of 10th October as World Mental Health Day, we are looking at some of the best ways to talk to your boss about mental health.

Mental health in the workplace:

Whilst Finance and Accounting roles are often stressful as they are detail-oriented and often have stringent deadlines, many still feel uncomfortable talking to their managers about the pressure their work is putting on their mental health. Many feel that to talk about how you’re struggling can be reflective of a weakness, or inability to fulfil your role. This could not be further from the truth and your manager will understand and recognise that employee burnout is a very real thing and strains on your mental health are a significant contributor.

According to the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association (CABA), 32% of accountants feel stressed in their day-to-day life and a further 17% have been forced to take time off due to stress.

Although it may feel like opening up about anxiety, depression, bipolar, ADHD or any of the myriad mental health conditions will make you vulnerable to being passed over when it comes to promotions, or open you up to discrimination, it is important to know that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee on the grounds of mental health concerns.   

However, we have put together four considerations to bear in mind when talking to your boss so that both of you are comfortable during the conversation, and happy with the results!

4 considerations when talking to your boss about mental health:

  1. Find an appropriate time

It can be very difficult to work out when best to disclose a mental health problem with your manager, but it’s important to bear in mind that you are under no obligation to disclose it during your interview.

Finding a quiet moment when you can talk with your manager in a one-on-one situation will allow you to feel comfortable that the entire office won’t be listening in and judging.

  1. Be clear about how you’re being affected

Many have found it useful to write down exactly how their work is affecting their mental health, allowing them to be specific and concise.

Being able to pinpoint exactly what combination of factors, timeframes, workloads or projects will help your manager understand where you’re coming from and be better able to suggest a solution to support you.

  1. Reinforce your productivity and ability to do your job

Whilst the above point is specific about what parts of your role negatively impact your work, to ensure you don’t feel like you’re changing your manager’s perception of you, it is a good idea to positively reinforce your productivity when circumstances are different.

Describe the instances where you were under pressure but performed well will confirm that you are a good employee, but you need additional support right now.

  1. Maintain your privacy

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and just like physical health, you have a right to disclose as much or as little information as you want to.

If your mental health is being repeatedly affected by your role, you may want to try some of our tips to relieve stress and anxiety at work or think about changing roles.

Edward Mann can assist you in finding the right job move where you can fully utilise your skills and plan for personal growth to ensure a bright future. Our consultants will help you at every step of the way, offering application support, and interview advice so you make the right impression.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help

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