How To Tell Your Boss You Have Mental Health Issues – 9 Steps

Written By Aleena

Never take mental health issues lightly. Here’s a helpful guide on how to tell your boss you have mental health issues.

What will I learn?

Every workplace has its fair share of problems. The key is to handle them and take care of your health simultaneously.

How To Tell Your Boss You Have Mental Health Issues – 9 Steps

WHO says mental health issues are the second leading cause of disability globally.

There’s a huge stigma associated with mental health in the United States. Around 61% of people with a mental health issue say they feel uncomfortable talking about it.

According to about 30% of people with mental health issues:

“employers discriminate against them.”

So what’s the best way to tell your boss about it without getting a backlash? Refer to the guide below:

1. Identify Your Symptoms And Their Causes:

There are many signs and symptoms of mental health issues. Although some symptoms are easy to spot, many are more subtle, attribute them to other things.

how to tell your boss you have mental health issues

When it comes to mental health, the first step is to seek professional help. It includes seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist.

They will be able to diagnose you with a mental health condition. Once diagnosed, you can begin to treat your condition and get better.

2. Meet With Boss And Let Them Know You’re Struggling:

The first step is to talk to your boss and let them know you struggle. You can make an appointment with him. Likewise, you can prepare a letter and send it to them.

Here are some key points you should include in your meeting:

– Your mental health condition (as per your therapist’s diagnosis)

– A description of your condition and symptoms you are experiencing

– How it all affects your work performance

It would help if you did so; however, make sure the situation warrants it. Tell your boss about your struggles and make sure he is open to the discussion.

3. How To Tell Your Boss You Have Mental Health Issues – Be Honest About Your Mental Health:

Do not hide anything from your boss. Instead, be honest about your mental health issues with your boss. Be honest about your condition.

Do not try to sugarcoat it either. Be honest about how your mental health is affecting your work life.

Tell your boss what triggering factors in the workplace increase the issues. Vulnerability is not a bad thing.

Be honest and upfront about all the aspects of your experience: positive and negative.

If your boss is a good and kind-hearted person, he will understand it all. However, if he is not, he might not understand it all, yet backlash.

(We will discuss how to handle backlash later in the article.)

4. Tell Them What They Can Do To Help You:

Let your boss know what they can do to help you. Or let them figure out what accommodations would be helpful for you.


Likewise, before going to your boss, figure out solutions yourself. In this way, you can share the points and let them agree to them. Some of the accommodations can be:

– Flexible hours of work

Hybrid mode of working: work from home + in house

– Reduced workload

– Help from other team members

– Leisure activities at work to calm you down

Stimulating environment

There can be many things your boss and coworkers do for you. The key is to convey your message correctly and let them help you.

It takes courage to ask for help. And if you plan on doing this, you are a courageous individual.

5. How To Tell Your Boss You Have Mental Health Issues – Ask Them If Any Resources Are Available:

Ask your boss if there are any resources available at the company. It can be:

– Counselling services

– Other programs designed for mental health issues

Not only boss but don’t be afraid to talk to HR. Some companies have therapists and mental health professionals to help their employees.

If your company has one, it is time to ask them for advice. Make sure that this is a conversation between two adults.

It should not be an argument or debate where one person tries to convince the other of something.

6. Know The Company’s Policies:

It is better to know the company’s policies about mental health before going to your boss.

It’s essential to acknowledge the facts when it comes to mental health in the workplace.

Mental illness can be debilitating and can lead to significant adverse impacts. Mental health problems affect one in four people in any given year.

As per a study, the costs of mental health disorders are as high as $80 billion per year in lost productivity.

Yet, only about half of those affected get treatment each year. There is a range of policies that companies can put in place to help improve employees’ mental health.

mental health problems

The strategies can reduce costs related to absenteeism and decreased productivity.

We are hopeful your company has such policies. If not, it is time to ask your HR to change the policies.

7. How To Tell Your Boss You Have Mental Health Issues – Get Ready For Some Backlash:

We know the idea of facing backlash is scary. Because it takes courage to open up, and it becomes a trauma if we do not get the desired reaction.

Yet, it is essential to know that there are chances of backlash. Unfortunately, not everyone will be as understanding and helpful.

One in five people has mental health issues. Yet, these people do not feel safe disclosing their mental struggles in workplaces.

Your boss may or may not understand, but do not let it get you down. You might feel ashamed to open up. However, it is not your fault they cannot understand others’ emotions.

It is better to leave and talk to HR about it in this case. Bosses can be apathetic. However, HRs are not. They are there to deal with issues of employees.

If you do not have proper HR in your workplace, what type of company is it? We suggest it is time to switch to another.

Moreover, if they do not listen, take some time off from work until you resolve the worst case.

8. Thank Your Boss For The Support:

If the conversation is successful, I appreciate their support. However, you should be able to manage it on your own without jeopardizing your career.

In the end, you can send your boss an email detailing your concerns while thanking them for their time. You will be lucky if your boss understood you and helped you somehow.

9. Take Care Of Yourself:

Get support from family and friends during this difficult time. Take care of yourself first. Make sure you are eating healthy. Exercise daily to boost your energy and body.

dark days

Get enough good sleep to calm down your nerves. Moreover, if necessary, take medication as per your therapist.

A Brief Guide On Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues are very prevalent in the United States. More than a quarter of all American adults experience mental health disorders.

The WHO estimates that 10% of the world’s population suffers from mental illness. That equates to over 450 million people worldwide.

Stigma against those who suffer from mental health issues is also prevalent.  People with mental health issues have unemployment and earn less money than others.

Employers should understand the nature of mental health issues. Moreover, they should provide resources for people who work for them.

Common Mental Health Issues:

Many mental health issues have become familiar:

– Anxiety disorders

– Depression, and

– Substance use disorders

– Impulse control disorders

– Personality disorders

– Eating disorders

Bipolar disorder

– Schizophrenia

mental health issues

However, many more types of mental health issues need discovery.

Factors That Lead To Mental Health Issues:

Many things can cause mental health issues, including:

– Stress at work or home

Feeling under pressure to perform, succeed or keep things running smoothly

– Worrying about money and bills, or other problems in your life

Mental health issues affect us all – close friends, family members, coworkers, etc.

Treatment To Mental Health Issues:

The more we talk about them, the less stigma there will be. By talking about it, we can help those who struggle to seek help.

Sadly, many people don’t get the treatment they need. It is due to a lack of awareness in their communities or fears surrounding cost and stigma.

The best way to treat mental health issues is to take therapy. Psychologists can help us reduce the symptoms and get to everyday life.


Mental health issues are a hot topic in the workplace, as well as in the media. The majority of mental illnesses do not have outward symptoms.

No one would ever know that a person was suffering from them unless they told someone. The stigma attached to mental illness prevents people from seeking help.

That’s why bosses must know about the issues and help their employees. To talk to your boss, discuss all the conditions honestly and tell them what help you need.

Consider going to HR afterward and know about the company’s policies on the matter. Take some time off and get back to everyday life.

In conclusion, you should also go to a therapist and follow their therapy to maintain a good life.

Last Updated on 1 year by Shahzaib Arshad


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