Opening up about mental health

Published on : 20th April 2020

Opening up about mental health

Mental health issues shouldn't have to be a barrier to pursuing a career and applicants should be encouraged to open up at the interview stage, without fear of discrimination and jeopardising their chances of being successful. Companies can benefit from employing someone who needs extra support in the workplace.

Many people who have a mental illness have a wide range of skills and experiences to draw upon, which we as employers could be missing out on if we fail to see them as a whole person rather than as someone with poor mental health. There are many benefits to opening up about mental health in the workplace, here are three to consider.

Flexible working

We shouldn't be looking at a potential employee as someone who will waste valuable time and resources, but as someone who can provide much-needed experience and knowledge in the workplace.

All employers are a valuable resource and in today's working environment, flexible working hours can benefit an employee who needs to attend doctor's or counselling appointments, just as much as an employer who has another reason such as childcare or family issues to deal with.

Increased productivity

By allowing people to discuss mental illness in the workplace, we help to remove the shame and stigma behind it and can move forward, asking ourselves how best to support workers and also encouraging them to act as a support network for each other. 

This means that issues may be resolved, and measures can be put into place to make the workplace a better place for workers, which in turn can lead to higher productivity.

Creating a supportive workplace improves morale.

Creating a supportive environment can mean offering non-formal chats to discuss any problems or issues, allowing employees flexible working hours to fit in any appointments, or making provisions for them to work from home some days if the office environment becomes too much at times. It also builds both team and individual morale. It's a well-known fact that employees work better when they feel happier and are in a supportive environment.

While everyone is different, some people with mental illness can get a feeling of self-worth through work. Your support in the workplace will inspire a sense of loyalty, particularly if other employees have failed to see their skills.