When to Disclose Your Mental Health Condition

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Mental health conditions can impact a person’s ability to go to work, have healthy relationships and function in their day-to-day lives. So, when and how should you disclose your mental health condition to those around you?

“Compared to 20 years ago, it’s a different conversation, partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Steve Fisher, director of clinical services at WellPower. “We all have mental health, period. Fortunately, we’re living in an era where mental health stigma is going down some.”

No matter who you talk to about your mental health condition, make sure you feel safe doing so. 

“Use discretion on who you share things with, what you share and what your expectation is from sharing that,” Steve said.

When to Disclose Your Mental Health Condition at Work

A diagnosed mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, can impact a person’s ability to do their job. If you need time off or accommodation because of your mental health condition, it might be time to talk to your supervisor. 

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is your supervisor trustworthy? 
  • Do you feel safe sharing this with them? 
  • Will they respect the fact that your mental health condition is something that’s impacting your ability to do your job? 
  • Do you need to make sure they understand why you might need a day off or other resources? 

In addition, have a clear idea of what you want to get out of disclosing your condition to them. Maybe your expectation is that they show you some grace if you need to take time off for your mental health. 

And, keep in mind that you do not have to disclose your mental health condition at work at all. According to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, “you have the right to disclose at any time during your employment. You also have the right not to disclose.” More tips can be found here

When to Confide in Friends & Family Members

When talking to friends and family, or coworkers you’re close with, the same concepts apply. 

“What do you share, who do you share it with, and with what purpose? It’s all about discretion and what it’s going to do for you and for them,” Steve said. “In some cases, it might be appropriate for them to know this about you because it’s a big part of who you are and they care about you.” 

Maybe that person can offer support for what you’re going through. Or, if you haven’t already gotten professional help, maybe they can help you figure out if you need to do so. 

“You might just need 30 minutes or an hour of someone’s time. You have to decide – can your friend be there for you for that? Or do you need to access a mental health therapist so you can create space for yourself to process grief and loss, or learn skills to manage anxiety or depression,” Steve said. “Maybe you need talk therapy and/or medication.” 

Know how much to expect from those in your support system. And don’t use them as your therapist.

How to Get Professional Help

There are effective, evidence-based treatments for mental health conditions that help people find relief and feel better. 

At WellPower, we power the pursuit of well-being by supporting and promoting the vital connection between a person’s mental health and overall well-being. Our nationally-recognized services help children, families and adults in the Denver community create a path to living happier and healthier lives.

Call (303) 504-7900 to access services at WellPower. 

If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255.