Dealing with mental health issues is never easy. Couple this with a job and you can seriously feel the struggle – particularly if your coworkers are unaware. We take a look at ten actions you can take to help make your manager and your colleagues more aware.

Think about the support you may need

Think about the support you may need


Approaching a manager about your mental health is a daunting task, but it can unlock the door to a more supported working life, and more understanding from your employers should you experience troubles during the working day. Here are five tips for speaking to your manager about mental health issues:

Call a meeting – it might seem daunting to grab the bull by the horns but your manager can only help once they’re actually aware of your situation. It doesn’t need to be a giant formal affair – simply ask your manager for a meeting to discuss how you’ve been feeling.

Remember your rights – the workplace has come a long way over the last decade when it comes to attitudes towards mental health issues, but it can still feel like isolating dealing with them alone. Maybe it’s a misinformed manager or an archaic leadership team, but sometimes HR processes and laws aren’t followed properly. It’s a good idea to get clued up on exactly what your rights are and what to expect in terms of support and treatment. If you feel mistreated at any point, it’s worth speaking to a legal professional.

Find a safe space – talking about your mental health can be hard, so it makes sense to find somewhere quiet and private to discuss it to help you feel as comfortable as possible. You might not even want to stay in your office for this – maybe a local café or even a park bench could help you feel able to open up.

Be honest – however embarrassed you might feel, honesty is the best policy. The more they understand your situation, the better they can specifically target how to support your needs.

Think about any support you may need – if you’re finding your working hours hard to cope with, for example, it is worth seeing if there are any reasonable adjustments that can be made. Many employers offer flexible working solutions these days. You understand your issues more than anyone else, so don’t be afraid to suggest solutions that you think will address your difficulties.


Sometimes speaking to a colleague can be easier than speaking with a manager, and could be the first step in making your company aware of your struggles. Here’s five tips for speaking with a colleague about your mental health:

Think about what you want to say – it’s worth getting an idea of exactly how much you want to share with your colleagues. You aren’t obliged to share every detail, so think about what it is you want to make them aware of.

Slow and steady – it might be helpful to start small when you first share the issues you’re experiencing. Talk about particular difficulties you have at work, and share more, if and when you need to. Not only does this help you build up the confidence to eventually share your situation as a whole, but it can also make it easier to experience a particularly severe period because you have someone to turn to for support.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – if you’re feeling the struggle and need support, the simple act of asking for help can help you feel much less alone. The next time you feel like it is getting a bit much, take a moment and talk with a close colleague about how you’re feeling. It may be that gaining an outside perspective helps you come to terms with your own.

Rise above any stigma – a CIPD training company called DPG ( recently found that 85% of UK workers felt that there was a stigma attached to mental health issues in the workplace. Despite the progress we’ve made, sharing is still a very real fear for many people living with a whole range of conditions. You can be part of the solution. It might be hard, but making a leap could be the next step towards a more positive, open work life for you and your colleagues

Don’t feel obliged to share – despite all of the above, there’s no obligation to share any issues you may be experiencing with your mangers and colleagues – both from a social and legal perspective. If you feel ready to share your problems, it can help, but it isn’t the only course of action. Speaking with a doctor or therapist is always a helpful course of action, and sharing with a friend or family member may also provide you with the support and outlet you need. 

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