Employment can bring its own pressures on your mental health.
Being in paid employment is generally a good thing. It can be more than just a way of earning a living: it provides us with an identity, contact and friendship with other people, a way of putting structure in our lives and an opportunity to meet goals and to contribute.
Although unemployment and poverty is linked with poor mental and physical health, paid employment brings its own pressures on our mental health. Many people experience mental health problems they believe to have been caused by their current or past work, with stress being the largest cause of work-related illnesses.
If you already have a mental health problem, maintaining paid employment can itself be a challenge: the usual pressures of work may sometimes make you feel worse, or you may feel that you can’t be open about your condition to your supervisor or colleagues. However, with understanding and support from your employer, and a little bit of flexibility, work can be a positive experience.
Taking action, however small, can improve your life at work or prevent stress developing in the first place. Learn to recognise what you find stressful in the work environment, and talk to your employer about it.
Many employers now have positive policies on disability and equality at work and take a more positive view of mental health problems, which ought to mean that being open about your mental health is less of a risk.
If you do decide to tell your employer, think about how and when to do it, and how much information you want to give, and who to share it with. You don’t have to go into personal details; focus on what you need for the job. Use our guide to reasonable adjustments booklet to help you prepare for this.