June 14, 2021

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Your Mental Health at Work

Communicate With Your Manager About Your Illness and Ask For Support

Photo credit getthegloss.com

Many companies in the United States have overall wellness programs as a benefit to their employees. Employee Assisted Program is the most common benefit offered, where employees have a certain number of free counseling visits with a therapist to help with a wide variety of issues at home and at work. Other benefits include free exercise classes and meditation through paid memberships on phone apps. Although the idea of wellness is widely spoken about in the workplace, the topic of mental health is still discussed less than overall wellness.

Mental health issues involve more than just having a bad day. Depression and anxiety may affect the quality of your work and how productive you are at getting assignments and projects finished. It is important to ask for support when you are not feeling well. Speaking to your manager or Human Resources can be helpful. Together you can come up with a plan to help you in your work environment on days when you are struggling. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) you can ask for a “reasonable accommodation”. An example of reasonable accommodation is adding an extra break to your work schedule.

Also, under the Americans With Disabilities Act your employer cannot discriminate against you due to a mental health issue. If you do not feel supported by your management or feel you are a victim of discrimination you should speak to an attorney who specializes in ADA law.

In addition to speaking with management it will also benefit you to ask for support from your co-workers. Knowing you have someone to confide in over lunch or a coffee break will ease anxiety tremendously.

Asking for support is only part of the equation when you are working and have mental illness. The proper rest will set you up for success at work and in other facets of your life. We all need energy to function. Knowing what is depleting you and how to get the rest you need will energize you. In an interview with Shape magazine Dr. Saundra Dalton -Smith said “Rest is not the same as sleep. Rest encompasses restorative activities we do to refill our tanks, which become depleted through out the day.” Per Dr. Smith we need one or more of the following rest needs: creative, mental, physical, social, emotional, sensory and spiritual. You can find they type of rest you need by taking her quiz on her website restquiz.com.

When you have your results take action to build up your energy and restore your rest needs. Always take care of yourself first. When you are your best self internally you will be your best self in your career and your life!

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