Disclosing mental illness at work

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

Re: Disclosing mental illness at work

Postby John D. D, » Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:26 pm

It has to be really hard to deal with negativity which can be a result of nondisclosure. I think alternatively we would try to structure positive environments. It may be possible to find one if things don't work out.

As far as letting people go, I think it can depend on a lot of factors - how far the system has invested in you, how acute the problem seems to be, how upset people are about unrelated things on a given day. Someone who has little investment by the system, and shows up for work intoxicated and unable to work, can be let go immediately. The addiction may not be their fault, but they are nonetheless expected to get treatment immediately, to the point of not having job until that is resolved. Although the choices other people may make may affect you, you can't control them all, so I think just do the best you can, and try not to worry about what you can't control.

Although mental illness can be very stigmatizing, my personal belief (and this is contrary to what many people believe) is that, the disease itself can evolve in a positive way, so that a label doesn't have to necessarily follow you for the rest of your life - although one can choose to positively identify with the label if one wants to.

I respect anyone's decision to identify, or not. Most importantly, I respect their privacy.
John D. D,
Posts: 70
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 1:53 am

Re: Disclosing mental illness at work

Postby PG » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:15 am

First I am posting this from a country in northern Europe which may very well function differently in many aspects. Personally as a manager I would appreciate if I get information about anything that impacts how my employees perform their tasks but the response to that information might be different depending on the individual we are talking about.

For example. If someone who performs well and provides value to the company (work performed, interaction with the team etc)would come his manager and disclose either mental illness or anything else including things going on in the family (as mentioned by Ana) that impacts their work I believe that most companies would work with them to find a way that minimizes the impact while allowing them to provide as much value to the company as possible.

However if we are instead talking about an employee that has questionable performance and for whom the company have started working on a training program to correct that performance and this person comes discloses an explanation for that performance that cant be corrected the situation would be different and the willingness of the company to make adjustements to work tasks etc might be limited. There are of course various laws and regulations around what companies can and has to do in this type of situations but those are different between countries and can sometimes also be regulated in company policy documents etc.
Posts: 1032
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: Disclosing mental illness at work

Postby PACN » Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:08 pm

I'm not sure that you will know it is a "final warning" when you receive it. If you are consistently getting told that your performance is not meeting expectations and you are not improving sufficiently, those are warnings. If you are waiting for an explicit "This is the last warning or you are fired"-- I'm not sure they will be or need to be so explicit. In fact, depending on where you work, they might not want you to know it is coming, due to concerns of sabotage or stealing trade secrets. If you can talk to your manager frankly and tell you are aware of the problems and are doing your best to address them (with or without disclosure), he/she might be able to give you a sense of where the situation seems to be heading. I think whether they keep you on will in all likelihood depend on whether they think you will be able to perform the job at the level they require. Do you think you will get there? If not, disclosing and hoping to find some accommodations that work for you might be the best option.
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:53 pm


Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bill L. and 17 guests