Mental health is a touchy subject. No one really knows how to talk about it, especially in the workplace. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. In fact, talking openly and honestly about mental health can be really beneficial for both employees and employers alike. So, if you're wondering how to get started, here are a few tips to help you out.
Mental health in the workplace is often thought of as only referring to psychological wellbeing, but it actually encompasses emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing within a shared work environment. A mentally healthy workplace is one where employees feel supported and valued, and are able to manage stressors in a healthy way.
It's estimated that one in five adults in the US experiences some kind of mental health condition in any given year.  That means that there's a good chance that someone you work with is dealing with a mental health issue, even if you don't know it. And yet, mental health is still a taboo topic in many organizations. Here's why it is so important to know how to talk about mental health in the workplace:
Mental health in the workplace is a topic that is often difficult to talk about. There are a number of reasons for this.
It can be difficult to talk about your own mental health, especially at work. You might worry that you'll be seen as weak or unable to handle your job. But it's important to remember that mental health is just like physical health: everyone has it, and everyone needs to take care of it. Here are a few tips for talking to a colleague about mental health:
It can be tough to talk to your boss about your mental health issues. You might feel like you seem weak or that you're not performing up to par. But if you're not feeling well, you need to take the time to address those issues. Here are a few tips for how to talk to your boss or a direct manager about your mental health issues:
It's a question that's been on a lot of employees' minds. The answer, unfortunately, is not a simple one. Even though some laws protect employees from discrimination based on mental health conditions, there is no legislation that would prevent employers from discussing the mental health of their staff.
For instance, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protections for employees with mental health conditions. Under the ADA, employers are prohibited from making job decisions based on an employee's mental health.
Furthermore, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with mental health conditions. This means that employers must make changes to the workplace or the way a job is performed in order to enable an employee to perform their job duties. For example, an employer might allow an employee to work from home if they are struggling with anxiety. 
On the other hand, there is no specific law that addresses whether or not employers can discuss an employee's mental health with others. This means that, in most cases, employers are free to discuss an employee's mental health with co-workers, supervisors, and even customers or clients.
Of course, this doesn't mean that employers should be indiscriminately disclosing sensitive information about their employees' mental health - but it does mean that they can legally do so if they choose to. So if you're concerned about your employer discussing your mental health, you may want to have a conversation with human resources professionals about your expectations for confidentiality.
Discussing your mental health with your boss or a line manager can be a tricky situation. On one hand, you may feel like you need to open up in order to get the support you need to manage your condition. On the other hand, you may worry about how your boss will react and whether it will impact your job security. Before having this discussion, it's important to weigh the pros and cons.
Some potential pros include getting accommodations at work, such as a flexible schedule or extra time off. This can help to reduce stress and make it easier to manage your condition. In addition, your boss may be more understanding than you expect. Finally, your employer may provide health insurance that will allow you to get professional medical advice or find that you have a diagnosable mental health condition.
However, there are also some potential cons to consider. Unfortunately, mental health stigma still exists so opening up about your struggles could result in your boss treating you differently, which could impact future opportunities for promotion or pay raises. In addition, your conversation may not stay confidential, and coworkers may treat you differently if they find out about your condition.
The research has shown that in a pool of workers who were diagnosed with mood disorders, men rather than women were more likely to disclose it to their employer. Unfortunately, this could be partly due to the fact that male job applicants with disability were found to be rated more favorably in their potential to get higher job positions than females. 
In addition, those who perceived higher emotional support from their colleagues and supervisors, those familiar with ADA, and those who had more severe symptoms were more likely to disclose a mental health problem to their organization. 
As you can see, there is a variety of factors that determine whether or not you should discuss your mental health with your boss. It is a personal decision that should be based on the severity of your symptoms, your company's culture, and your relationship with your employer.
1 National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness
2 Americans with Disabilities Act Technical Assistance. https://adata.org/learn-about-ada
3 Bell & Klein, 2001. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0090-5518.104.22.168
4 Brohan et al., 2012. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-12-11