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The decision of whether to talk about your mental health condition at work is a personal one – there's no right or wrong answer, and every situation is different. While there are some clear benefits to discussing it with your employer, such as being able to access support, many people are concerned about being treated differently or other colleagues finding out. It can be hard to know what to do, especially if it already seems like there’s too much going on.
This three-step tool is designed to help you weigh up all the issues. While you'll receive a summary at the end based on how you rate your pros and cons, the main aim of this exercise is to get you thinking about your personal circumstances and what will work best for you.
If you have registered on the website and set up a Heads Up profile, you can save your selection at any point and revisit it again in the future.
If you decide to go ahead and tell your employer, our conversation planner can help you figure out what you want to say.
While everyone’s situation is unique, there are a number of factors that are useful to consider. You can remove any that don’t apply to you by clicking on the cross and use the ‘add more’ button to write your own.
Pros of telling my employer
If I let my manager know about my condition, we can discuss changes to my job like reduced hours or a different schedule – these could help me keep working or support my recovery.
Talking about my experiences might encourage others to be more open about mental health at work, as well as helping to change people’s attitudes.
My colleagues have been asking where I’ve been when I’ve had to take time off work. Being upfront about it might stop rumours spreading or people gossiping.
I’ve been missing deadlines and my work hasn’t been to my usual standard. I would rather people knew about my condition than having them think I was slacking off – they’re more likely to be understanding.
My colleagues are a pretty close-knit bunch and I think they’ll be supportive. A couple of other people have talked about their mental health conditions at work, and everyone was really positive and empathetic.
Being open and upfront about what I’ve been going through will be helpful in case there is any dispute about my performance with my employer in the future.
I’m being performance-managed/facing disciplinary action and my boss doesn’t understand what’s been going on for me. I think it might help if I explain I’ve been experiencing a mental health condition that has affected me at work.
My boss has noticed I’ve been acting differently lately and has expressed concern. It would be a relief as I’m sick of trying to hide it and I think my employer will be supportive.
Add your own pro
Cons of telling my employer
I’m confident that I can manage my condition – it doesn’t affect my ability to do my job.
I don’t need any adjustments to my workload or schedule at the moment.
I’m worried that my boss will think differently about my ability and potential, and it could affect my career prospects.
I’m uncertain about the level of support my boss will provide. I know there is legislation to protect me, but I’d be concerned that my employer would do the bare minimum and it wouldn’t really help me.
I have a strong network outside work that I can rely on and I’m not at a point where I need any additional support.
I’m worried about what my boss/colleagues will say. I’m not sure they understand what it’s like to have a mental health condition or how it can affect a person. They might think I’m weak or not pulling my weight.
I don’t want to have to talk about it with anyone at work. Even though I think they’ll be understanding I just don’t want to have to discuss this personal stuff with them.
I’m not sure it will stay confidential. I’m comfortable talking to my boss about this but don’t want anyone else to know and I don’t want it going on my employment record.
I’m worried that if people found out they could use this against me somehow or that I might be discriminated against.
Add your own con