Ways to Open Up to your Boss about your Mental Health Issues
Khalid Khan
November 30
We have observed that people find it difficult to discuss their mental health at a workplace and understandably so as one would choose to keep their personal and work matters separate. However, it is highly recommended to have a conversation with your boss if you are struggling with your mental health (not speaking about it could hurt your work performance, resulting in it entangling with your work-life), so that you can feel relax at work, even now more than ever due to the COVID-19 situation.

A common situation that occurs is employees believing their performance outweighs what is expected of them and remain overloaded every time. However, managers believe that they are always supportive of their staff and maintain a work-life balance. Consequently, 80% of the employers think that they are doing the best for their employees, while less than half of the employees think the company is doing enough for them.

For as long as businesses have existed, there has been a misunderstanding between the relation between an employer and an employee. The sad truth is most people don't know how to initiate such a discussion with their manager the fear of opening up to your immediate supervisor could result in poor mental health.

Below are six steps to start the conversation with a manager:
Review Company Materials on Your Own:
It is never easy to start a conversation with your boss where an employee feels stressed. It is difficult to talk about your mental health with a manager. The best way to prepare for the conversation is by reviewing company materials such as core values as well as health benefits. This is the starting point as the employee will feel comfortable with the health coverage provided by the employer. In case there is no such health coverage provided by the employer then it's a good opportunity to start the conversation with them by taking them into confidence.
Pay Attention to Work-Life Balance of Manager:
It is no brainer that your boss is also dealing with issues in his personal life. You just need to pay close attention to why a boss is disturbed and link your problem with that to discuss with him at the right moment.
Feel Relax and be Specific While Sharing Your Mental Health Issues:
Once you start sharing your mental health issues with your boss, always be specific in your conversation, e.g. you can tell that you need flexibility over few months due to health issues. It is pointless to provide the boringly long details of the health issues. The main goal is to make your manager understand, and not to hire them as a therapist.
Be Specific While Describing the Needs:
For a productive conversation, it is very important to discuss only the relevant details with a manager. For example, you have started therapy and not sure of the exact timings of your sessions, then that's a point to share as it is relevant to the matter. Only mention points of your personal life which carry into your work life in front of your manager.
Block the Time in Your Calendar:
As mentioned, one should be specific to the needs, so the next step is to implement to start getting the help you need. An employee should block a time on their calendar for their exercise or meditation or any mental health-related activity like therapy, so no one can disturb you.
Manage Health On Your Own through Certain Activities:
One way is to discuss with your manager at the office regarding your health issues but that should be specific as mentioned earlier. However, you must maintain a work-life balance on your own. The practice is through certain activities like yoga, meditation, and stress management. A person should take healthy meals and aim to sleep eight hours at night. There should be a clear line between work time and relaxation time.

Talking about mental health at work doesn't have to start with employers. You can be the change by stepping up and developing an open dialogue about mental health issues. All it takes is one employee to open the conversation around mental health to begin establishing a more supportive, inclusive workplace.