Should You Tell Your Employer About Your Mental Health Diagnosis?

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People with mental health conditions appear to be at a higher risk of losing their jobs than people without such conditions. As such, an important question that many such individuals struggle with is whether or not they should tell their employers about their diagnosis.

While there are some good arguments for disclosing your mental health condition, there are also strong arguments against doing so. Here we take a look at both sides of the coin and give you an idea about when it makes sense to tell your boss that you have bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder or any other type of condition. Then you will have enough information to decide if you want to disclose this information in your next job interview.

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Good reasons to share your diagnosis in the workplace include the following:

1. You need accommodations.

If you have a mental health condition and need certain accommodations in order to do your job, then telling your employer is the right thing to do. For example, if you have bipolar disorder and require a reduced workload during manic episodes, then letting your boss know is essential.

2. You want workplace support.

Some people with mental health conditions find it helpful to have others in the workplace who are aware of their diagnosis and can provide some support. This type of support can be very valuable, especially if you are struggling with your mental health condition.

3. You want to break the stigma.

Many people with mental health conditions feel ashamed or embarrassed about their diagnosis. Telling your employer can help to break down the stigma and show that mental health conditions are nothing to be ashamed of.

4. You want to get help.

If you are struggling with your mental health condition, disclosing it to your employer can be a way of getting help. Your boss may be able to provide you with resources or referrals to mental health professionals who can assist you in managing your condition.

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There are also some good reasons not to disclose your diagnosis in the workplace. Here are a few:

1. You don’t need accommodations.

If you do not need any accommodations in order to do your job, then there is no reason to disclose your diagnosis. Just because you have a mental health condition does not mean you have to disclose it to your employer.

2. You don’t want workplace support.

Some people do not want or need the type of support that comes with disclosing a mental health condition. If this is the case for you, then there is no reason to tell your boss about your diagnosis.

3. You don’t want to break the stigma.

Just because you don’t want to break the stigma doesn’t mean that others feel the same way. There are many people who will be grateful that you are breaking down the barriers and stigma associated with mental health conditions.

4. You don’t want help.

If you are not struggling with your mental health condition, then there is no need to disclose it to your employer. You may simply want to keep this information private.

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Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to disclose your mental health condition to your employer is up to you. However, we hope that this article has provided you with some food for thought and that you are now able to make an informed decision about what is best for you. Thanks for reading!

4 responses to “Should You Tell Your Employer About Your Mental Health Diagnosis?”

  1. Sorry, your employer is NEVER your friend. While there might be a given boss who will have compassion and try to accommodate an employee with mental health issues, the company itself will always be looking at the bottom line, and as likely as not, if your mental health affects that, it will become the reason to let you go. I saw this repeatedly at my last employer, and this was in the healthcare-related industry. You’d think there would be compassion there.

    I would never trust an employer. You have a business relationship with your company. That’s what it ultimately is.

    • Thank you, I found this out recently. It was tough to experience but I am better off working for myself now… I am a bad boss and a worse employee while working for self 🙂 (just kidding)

  2. I used to keep my mental health issues hidden. However, just like any other illness, there are flare ups and some days or weeks it can get really bad. I don’t open up about it to everyone at my work place, but sometimes if my panic attacks keep me up, I’m not going to be 100% awesome the next day and I need grace and understanding. Have previous employers used my anxiety against me? Of course, but that’s a reflection of their character not mine. I’m a fully functional adult with a career, a home, and a family. Do despite my mental health issues, I do a great job at life. (Most of the time) I have a great psychiatrist and I know when I need extra help, what triggers me, and how to cope. Of course I’m still learning and still have bad days, but that’s okay. If a job can’t look past that or be supportive than find a job to lessen your mental health issues, not add to them.❤

    • Thank you for this. I found that my last employer kind of understood what I went through, but after a slight burnout and unpaid leave, they let me go… I suspect it’s fine with them as long as you deliver the work they want, but my feeling towards them immediately changed when they shut the door the moment I needed ‘a favor’. I am now self-employed and doing much better 🙂

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