Employment offers several advantages for people who are diagnosed with an ongoing mental health disorder. Employer-backed insurance and steady employment can boost your physical and financial well-being, but mental health stigmatization could exacerbate emotional distress.
Always remember that every employee, regardless of their perceived health, needs to work in an environment that supports them, as you’ll become more productive and happy as a result.
How to Find a Supportive Work Environment
The wrong work environment can worsen your mental health symptoms and prevent you from getting the help you need, so take care of yourself by searching for a supportive employer.
Look for a Workplace That’s Flexible
If you have a persistent mental health condition, start prioritizing employers that offer flexible hours. If you can perform all of your job duties from a computer, give remote work a try. Either way, a flexible schedule eliminates the pressure of coming to work when you aren’t able.
However, if you only need an employer that can work around your medical appointments, consider taking a job at night or on the weekends. Be sure to research JobSage’s company reviews and other employer websites to check if the employer is actually trustworthy.
Find a Job With Support and Benefits
Consider what kind of support you need to be productive at work. Do you need leadership resources and policies that support sustained success? If so, stick with bigger corporations. But if you need direct and consistent engagement, locate a startup with an empathetic HR team.
Either way, pay attention to the company’s medical benefits. Most businesses will offer basic health insurance, but if you need therapy, dental, vision, or life insurance, you may have to apply with an enterprise. You can also negotiate your health package during the interview stage.
Be Sure to Interview Your Interviewer
When applying for jobs, you should always speak to prior employees and research the company website. This can give you clues about the employer’s culture and how they treat employees. But don’t take this information at face value, as you still need to speak to the employer directly.
During the interview, ask questions about the culture, their management style, and how they define success. Pay attention to their tone of voice, eye contact, and posture, as that can reveal how they actually feel. Remember to be polite, professional, and upfront with your questions.
Talking About Mental Health at Work
Candidates don’t have to disclose their mental health conditions to employers before or after they’re hired. Still, it’s essential to know how to discuss your mental health needs at work, as you may need to do so to obtain reasonable accommodations or apply for a leave of absence.
If a company employs at least 15 people, they’re required by law to make moderate adjustments to workplace practices to accommodate you. These include an altered break or work schedule, switching to remote work, a quiet office space, or changes in managerial methods.
Examine Their Time-Off Policy
Your mental health can affect your well-being at any time, but that doesn’t make you any less of a productive worker. It just means that you’ll need to adjust when those moments arrive. To make it easier for you and your employer, examine their time-off, PTO, and vacation policy.
Taking a sick day to care for your mental health is entirely appropriate, but you need to find an employer that accepts “I need to take time off for mental health reasons” for an answer. If you’re in a crisis, find an employer that will secure your job if you need to take a leave of absence.