How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health

By Steve Calechman
September 29, 2022

For some who are living with mental illness, navigating the workplace can feel like negotiating a series of hurdles. There’s the worry that your condition will affect your ability to do your job and the fear that colleagues will grow to resent you if you need to take time off.

Underpinning these concerns is the fear of what will happen if you reveal your mental health issues to your boss and coworkers. “For some people there is a stigma around mental illness and they worry about how they will be perceived,” says Debbie Sorensen, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Denver and coauthor of ACT Daily Journal.

One survey of more than 1,000 employees found that 54 percent reported feeling uncomfortable talking to their managers and supervisors about mental health, and just 21 percent actually went through with the discussion (with 5 percent saying they spoke with an HR representative).