Do you feel uncomfortable or daunted by the idea of talking about your mental health at work?

Did you know that talking about what's going on for you can really help your employer understand how they can support you?

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It's time to put a plan in place to talk to someone at work about your mental health.

1. Plan what you want to say

It's important to think about what you want to say and what you want to get out of the conversation.

How much am I happy to share?

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Only share as much about your mental health as you feel comfortable doing.

💡 It's illegal in America and Canada for your employer to discriminate against you because you have a mental health condition.

How is my mental health condition affecting my work?

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Provide examples of tasks or situations you're finding hard and explain how that's affecting your performance.

This will really help your boss understand your situation. They may be able to offer solutions or advice on how you can manage work. They may also refer you to any support that may be available.

Are there any adjustments I could ask my employer for?

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This could involve:

  • changes to your working hours

  • working from home

  • time off for medical appointments

💡 Check out services such as the Job Accomodation Network (JAN). They provide guidance on accommodations that could help your mental health condition at work.

2. Work out who to talk to

Decide who to talk to at work about your mental health.

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If you don't feel comfortable talking to your manager or boss, then see if there's someone in human resources you can talk to.

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It's pretty likely you're not the first person to bring something like this up with human resources. They'll have the training and experience to help you.

3. Start the conversation

With all the prep work in place, now it's time to put your plan into action.

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📢 Reach out and say you'd like to talk to them.

📍 Choose a private space or somewhere away from distractions.

📅 Suggest a time and day that works for you.

Feeling unsure?

It's natural to feel nervous about this. You way wish to:

📧 Put your thoughts in an email if you prefer.

📋 Use a template to structure what you want to say.

📝Take your notes into the meeting.

Check out this template by Mental Health America.

4. After your chat

Good job on starting the conversation about your mental health!

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Follow up

Consider following up with an email. You could include:

  • Anything you forgot to mention.

  • A link to the Center for Workplace Mental Health, to help your colleague understand more about how mental health can affect businesses.

  • A summary of what you discussed and any accommodations you'd like them to explore.

Keep the conversation going

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Don't stop now! Be sure to keep workplace contact informed, especially if there are processes they can put in place to support you.

What would you do?

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Jay's been diagnosed with depression and spoke to his boss about changing his working hours so he could attend medical appointments.

Jay's conversation didn't go as well as he'd hoped. His boss didn't understand why Jay wasn't able to just get on with it and refused to change his hours.

Jay's thinking about a number of different options to explore, but doesn't know which one would be most helpful.

Option A

Open up to a trusted coworker.

Option B

Start looking for another job.

Option C

Reach out to the human resources team to ask for guidance and support.

Option D

Take time off work and try again with his boss in a couple of weeks.

Quiz

What would you tell Jay to do?

Take Action

Put a plan in place to talk to someone at work about your mental health!

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