Talking about your mental health challenges to an employer can help with getting support that allows you to do better in the job. However, this can still be a difficult thing to do if you’ve never done it before. To help with this, we asked a couple of people who are early in their careers to share their experiences.
“Undoubtedly I was nervous when I disclosed my mental health condition to my manager, but I was so pleasantly surprised by their supportive, encouraging and understanding response. I went into the conversation with ideas about what support I needed and what would be useful, and having that structure ensured it was a useful conversation for both of us. My advice would be that it doesn’t have to be your manager you have that first workplace conversation with – find someone you trust, perhaps a peer or an HR professional, and that can be an empowering first step”
Anastasia Vinnikova – Wellbeing Lead at Bank of England
“I didn’t disclose my mental health problems when I was applying to the graduate scheme, and I didn’t tell my manager when I arrived. I was worried that there would be a negative impact at the outset of my career. But when I did get around to telling my manager several months later, it was a really normal conversation focused on how I could be at my best. If I could go back in time, I’d do it sooner.”
Thomas Jones – Senior Associate at Bank of England
“I was very fearful of sharing that I was struggling with my team and had to reach breaking point for that to happen. My people manager was incredibly supportive and ensured the right people knew enough. HR was also no longer a scary place for me and they put in place an arrangement so I could get the help I needed. Looking back, I wish I’d gotten help before I’d reached breaking point as I’d have saved myself a lot of suffering but at the time I didn’t recognise I needed additional help. I’d really encourage students to speak to people they trust about how they’re feeling”.
Shalah Akhtar – Manager, PwC