Tips on How to Deal with Mental Illness at Work

Working efficiently at your job each day can be hard when you struggle with a mental condition. Fortunately, the law protects the rights of those who live with mental disorders. In this article, we share ways in which the law protects you, and tips on how to deal with mental illness at work.

Pay Attention To How You Feel and Behave


Many mental conditions, including anxiety and depression, cause changes in behavior and subjective feelings that can start gradually and then develop more quickly. If you are finding that you have difficulty communicating normally with coworkers or friends, are missing more work than normal with sick days, or are having increased problems with managing and completing routine tasks, you may need to seek medical attention.


Get Help and Don’t Be Ashamed


The days of suffering in silence while dealing with a medical mental condition should be over for all of us. The mental health profession has made great strides in recent years with understanding, diagnosing, and treating the common mental conditions that affect a great number of people. Specific conditions that can be aggravated by a stressful workplace are more appropriately and effectively treated than ever before. You should also realize that you are not alone in suffering from any symptoms of possible mental health disorders and that there is no shame in seeking professional help.


Talk To Your Human Resources Manager


Many times people feel apprehensive about discussing a mental health issue with human resources at work. The law protects your rights, however, and you should talk your situation over with HR openly and frankly. If there are any management or organization issues causing problems in your workplace, your HR professional should know so that appropriate action can be taken. Your HR professional will be obligated to follow the law in protecting your workplace rights, assisting you with getting treatment or other professional help, and addressing any workplace problems.


Talk Directly With Your Manager


If a question of how to deal with mental illness at work has been on your mind lately, you should address your concerns with management as soon as possible. Don’t wait until potential symptoms become significant enough to affect your work performance. You should not necessarily expect that your manager will pick up on clues or make assumptions about your symptoms. The longer you wait to have an open and honest discussion can make the situation harder to address.


Set Reasonable Goals and Expectations While Receiving Treatment


While you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder, be careful about how much additional responsibility you volunteer to take on. Overextending yourself while in treatment can lead to additional stress and lowered job performance. When daily workloads seem insurmountable, break large projects down into smaller and more manageable tasks. Keeping your focus on achieving realistic daily goals can support your progress.


Avoid Workplace Drama


Workplace gossip is generally destructive to morale for an entire office in addition to the subject of secretive conversations. Find a trusted coworker for personal conversations if that is helpful, but avoid situations where you might become the topic of office gossip. Keep your communications between yourself and the people who want to help you.


Knowing how to deal with mental illness at work will help you to be equipped to talk to your management and address the issue at hand. There are laws and regulations that protect the rights of people who live and work with medical conditions.


If you are a small business owner and one or several of your employees suffer from mental illness, you might benefit from a consultation with one of our HR Professionals here at StaffScapes to help you navigate through this important matter.


We look forward to speaking with you.