Should You Tell Your Employer About Your Mental Well-being Struggles?

26 May ‘23
4 min
Work performance
Arianna Freni
Reviewed by psychologist Judith Klenter
In today’s fast-paced world, recognising and addressing mental well-being challenges is essential for maintaining a healthy work environment and ensuring overall employee satisfaction. 


However, when it comes to sharing our struggles with our employers, a dilemma often arises: Should we disclose our concerns or keep them to ourselves? In this blog post, we’ll explore what disclosing your mental well-being challenges to your employer entails and provide insights to help you make an informed decision.


Understanding the Pros of Disclosure


Opening up about your mental well-being can bring several benefits, both for you and your employer. Let’s delve into the advantages of disclosure.


Creating a support network


One significant advantage of disclosing your mental well-being challenges is the potential to build a support network within your workplace. By sharing your experiences with your supervisors and colleagues, you create an opportunity to build trust and rapport. This, in turn, can foster a more understanding and empathetic work environment. Colleagues who are aware of your struggles may be more willing to offer support and help when needed, creating a sense of unity and solidarity. 


“Disclosing can help you become a role model to others in helping them understand that everyone struggles with their mental well-being at times”, explains psychologist Judith Klenter. 


Additionally, many companies offer resources and benefits specifically designed to support employees’ mental well-being. By disclosing your challenges, you gain access to these resources, such as counselling services, well-being programs, or flexible work arrangements. These resources can play a crucial role in your recovery and overall well-being, making it easier to navigate your work responsibilities while managing your peace of mind.


Reducing stress and anxiety


Hiding personal struggles can be a serious burden, often causing increased stress and anxiety. Putting on a façade and pretending everything is fine may also lead to feelings of isolation. However, by choosing to disclose your worries, you relieve yourself of this weight.


Sharing your struggles with your employer can offer a sense of relief. It helps your colleagues understand the challenges you’re facing, making it easier for them to accommodate your needs and provide a more compassionate and inclusive work environment. This understanding and empathy can significantly reduce stress levels and create a healthier work-life balance.


Evaluating Individual Factors


When it comes to the decision of disclosing mental well-being struggles, individual factors play a crucial role. Let’s explore some key considerations.


Assessing workplace culture and environment


Evaluating your workplace culture and environment is vital to understanding how your disclosure may be received. Consider your company’s history of supporting mental well-being initiatives. Have there been instances where employees have disclosed their struggles, and how were they supported? Understanding your company’s approach to mental well-being can provide insights into how your disclosure might be received.


Additionally, try to seek input from colleagues or a confidential person in the organisation first who has previously been in a similar situation. Their experiences can provide valuable perspectives and help you anticipate the possible outcomes of disclosure.


Identifying personal comfort levels


Ultimately, the decision to disclose your mental well-being status is a personal one. Reflect on how you may be impacted by disclosure. Consider the potential benefits and weigh them against the potential distress.


Evaluate your comfort level with the idea of discussing your mental well-being openly. While transparency can lead to a more supportive work environment, it’s essential to prioritise your well-being and determine what feels right for you. Remember, you have the right to protect your privacy and choose the path that best aligns with your needs.


Exploring Alternatives


If you’re hesitant about disclosing your mental challenges to your employer, there are alternative paths to consider.

One option could be seeking support outside your professional sphere. Engage with mental health professionals, such as psychologists or mental well-being experts, who can provide guidance and help you navigate your challenges. Additionally, joining support groups or participating in group sessions can offer a safe space to discuss your experiences and connect with individuals who can relate to your struggles.


In addition, while external support is crucial, don’t underestimate the power of self-care strategies in managing your mental well-being. Prioritise self-care outside of work, engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Developing coping mechanisms and stress reduction techniques that you can use during work hours may help manage your mental well-being more effectively.


Making an Informed Decision


The decision of whether or not to disclose your struggles with mental well-being to your employer is a personal one, influenced by various factors. Gathering information and seeking guidance, weighing the pros and cons, considering individual aspects, and exploring the various options whether within your workplace or outside of it, can help you make an informed decision.


By being proactive in caring for your mind, you not only invest in your own well-being but also contribute to the broader conversation about mental well-being in the workplace. Your journey can serve as an inspiration and catalyst for positive change, encouraging others to prioritise their mental well-being as well.


Ultimately, taking steps to care for your mental well-being is a brave and empowering choice, leading to a happier and more fulfilling professional and personal journey.

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