There is a fine line as to what should be disclosed at work when it comes to your personal information concerning your mental health. You may feel frightened you will be judged by your boss or coworkers with their ignorant chastisement of a mental health issue that they probably know nothing about. To stay under their radar, you may feel you have no choice but to begin taking drastic measures. Instead of asking for time off or leaving early to go therapy or a medical visit, you would rather just miss your appointments altogether, so you do not have to explain where you are going.
Your fear may be based off being labeled “the crazy one” or “defective” since you believe that you are the only one dealing with this. The assumption is if you were to be found out, you would not be taken seriously any longer. Being secretive and remaining private about your mental health issues has become a full-time job within itself to keep your company from finding out. The real question is what will happen to you if the truth comes to the surface?
People who have acknowledged their mental illness in the work have historically been discriminated against because of the risk that the company takes from employing them.
The World Health Organization has provided statistics that reveal why hiring someone who has confessed their condition may be considered a liability.
- Mental health issues are the leading cause of disability around the world.
- In the United States alone, depression has cost employers over $31 billion dollars in lost revenue with employees missing 200 million days of work yearly.
According to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), a qualified applicant for a job or a current employee cannot fail to be hired, demoted, or denied training opportunities with someone who has a history that includes “psychiatric disabilities”. The employee also has legal rights to privacy and accommodations for their disability unless it causes undue hardship for the employer.
Experts suggest waiting until you have had been employed for 6 months to a year if you can. Once you have built professional relationships with your colleagues and have shown your merit in your abilities to perform your job well, opening up about your mental health issues should depend on how your comfort level will be affected in the workplace. You should weigh out the advantages and disadvantages beforehand especially if you are not needing an accommodation to help you with your mental health issues.
Decide what is right for you and your mental state by consulting a therapist or a lawyer.
Every case is different with mental health issues. By knowing your pros and cons when disclosing such a personal matter, you can make the best decision to help you remain successful in your career.
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