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Mental health discussions at work can be uncomfortable, but having a successful conversation with your boss is a critical step to managing and improving your wellbeing. The key is to take the necessary steps to make sure your manager is receptive to the discussion and understands your needs and concerns. With the right approach, you can have an effective and positive conversation that meets the needs of both employer and employee.
Navigating the Conversation with Your Boss
Before you broach the subject of mental health with your manager, do your research. Find out if your company has a policy in place for discussing mental health, as well as any relevant employee benefits that could be applicable. Additionally, understand the communication approach and expectations of your manager. This will help you to craft a clear, focused, and professional message that is tailored to their style.
If at all possible, request a meeting with your manager in advance. This will allow your boss to organize their thoughts, prepare any relevant resources, and be ready to have an open and honest conversation. If this is not possible, you may need to provide more of an introduction to the subject when you start talking. Make sure you give your manager the time and space they need to process your message, and allow them to ask questions as needed.
Strategies for Talking to Your Manager
When talking to your manager about mental health, be sure to explain that the conversation is not simply a request for time off. Instead, focus on your overall wellbeing and how it could be improved with a particular accommodation. For example, you could talk about the benefits of flexible hours, adjusting workloads, or scheduling regular mental health days.
Additionally, provide examples of how the requested accommodation has been beneficial to you in the past. Demonstrate how it has made it easier to manage stress and increase productivity. Show how it has helped you stay focused and motivated in the workplace.
Making the Most of Your Mental Health Discussion
During the discussion, be sure to demonstrate that you are committed to your job and that you are taking the necessary steps to manage your wellbeing. If needed, offer to provide documents or a doctor’s note as evidence. Ask your manager what they need from you to make the accommodation successful.
Finally, it is important to emphasize that you are open to feedback. Ask your manager what they view as success and how they can support you in achieving it. Show that you are willing to work together to find a balance that is beneficial to both parties.
Key Points to Consider When Discussing Mental Health
- Do your research – Find out if your company has any relevant policies or benefits that could be applied.
- Request a meeting – Give your manager the time and space to process your message.
- Focus on overall wellbeing – Talk about the benefits of a particular accommodation and how it has helped you in the past.
- Provide evidence – Offer documents or a doctor’s note as proof that you are taking the necessary steps to manage your mental health.
- Be open to feedback – Ask your manager what they view as success and what they need from you to create a successful accommodation.
Essential Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful Conversation
When talking to your manager about mental health, do your best to stay focused on the conversation. Avoid speaking directly about your feelings, as this could make it more difficult for your manager to understand your message. Be sure to emphasize that you are open to feedback and that you are committed to finding a successful balance.
During the conversation, it is important to avoid blaming anyone or making any assumptions. Focus on what you need and how your manager can help you. Finally, be sure to express your appreciation for your manager’s time and understanding.
With the right approach and communication, you can have a productive and meaningful conversation about your mental health with your manager. By taking the time to find out what your manager needs and demonstrating that you are committed to finding a successful balance, you can make the most of your discussion and ensure that your mental health needs are met.
When talking to your manager about your mental health, it is important to do your research, request a meeting, focus on your overall wellbeing, provide evidence, and be open to feedback. Being mindful of these points can help you have an effective conversation about mental health and ensure that your needs are understood. With the right approach, you can have a successful conversation that meets the needs of both employer and employee.
- “How to Talk to Your Boss about Mental Health.” Headspace, https://www.headspace.com/workplaces/mental-health-in-the-workplace/how-to-talk-to-your-boss-about-mental-health. Accessed 8 June 2020.
- “How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health.” The Mighty, https://themighty.com/2017/08/how-to-talk-to-your-boss-about-your-mental-health/. Accessed 8 June 2020.
- “A Guide to Talking About Mental Health At Work.” NAMI, https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/August-2018/A-Guide-to-Talking-About-Mental-Health-at-Work. Accessed 8 June 2020.