- Posted by Jon Harju
- On September 23, 2019
Starting a new job brings about many fresh challenges: adapting to an unfamiliar work environment, meeting and connecting with new colleagues and management, and getting a handle on your new projects and responsibilities.
The uncertainty of a new job can feel daunting on its own. But, what if you have a mental health issue like anxiety or depression? How and when do you bring it up with your new boss?
Understandably, many people face the dilemma of whether or not to disclose their mental health problems when starting a new job.
A 2014 study found that among 600 people with disabilities (including approximately half with mental illness), 25% said they “received negative responses to revealing their problems — such as not being promoted, being treated differently, or being bullied.”
It can be tempting to not disclose your mental health challenges, but it’s also important to consider the support you’ll need your manager and team to function at your very best.
3 considerations to help you decide how to share your mental health story with your new boss
- You own your story and when and how to share it
Telling your manager or HR team about a diagnosis of any health problem is called disclosure – and it’s your choice. There is no right or wrong time for disclosure. Some people wait until they are established in the workplace, while others either want or need to discuss it straight after a job offer.
Keep in mind as you decide how to have this discussion (or not) that In Canada there is no legal requirement to tell your employer what is causing a disability.
- Do I even want to work here?
Being upfront about your mental health can feel risky, especially if you anticipate or are concerned about a negative reaction. But if you have a feeling that the new organizational culture or your manager won’t be accepting of your mental health, it’s a strong indicator to reflect on whether this is the type of place you want to work.
- Get the help and support you need
Making your manager aware of your condition will help you access and navigate the support you need and deserve to function at your very best. Your manager (or HR) will be able to give you an overview of the mental health resources, benefits, and services available to support you in the new organization.
Your mental health story is only yours to share
Remember, there is no right or wrong time to tell someone at work about your mental health condition. If it feels daunting, take your time, think about it, speak with someone close to you or a health professional, and decide when YOU want to have the conversation.
Download Snapclarity to get the help you need, when you need it.