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Disclosing Your Wellbeing – Is Mental Health at Work a Question of Privacy?

Over time, understanding and getting aware of mental health issues has become imperative worldwide. It is of paramount importance when it comes to supporting people suffering from psychiatric illnesses.

Be it personal or professional life, mental health issues can have a huge impact on an individual’s overall health and well-being. While employed in a workplace or organization, employers need to take account of these issues seriously and implement reasonable actions to help those in need of support and care.

Maintaining a balance between what an employee can disclose about their mental well-being and to what extent an employer should know about their employee’s mental health is equally important.

This content piece, therefore, will dive deep into and look at Is mental health at work a question of privacy or an easy topic to discuss?

Mental Illness and Job Hiring

Disclosing a mental health concern can have both positive and negative implications for businesses. Unfortunately, there is no set result as to how an employee’s disclosure will impact them, depending on the environment of the workplace.

When an employee discloses their mental health concerns, it may be difficult for you as an employer to handle the conversation so that the issues can be resolved easily.

It is, therefore, important for you to understand that your employees likely had to overcome a lot of fear to talk on this topic and require real support.

An employee or a job candidate is not legally required to mention any persisting medical or mental condition to their employers unless and until it is directly related to their work and requires serious attention. However, if the issue affects their work performance and efficiency, then employers need to play their part in overcoming it.

Any supervisor or manager needs to learn and understand what questions they could ask appropriately when they plan to hire someone. There is a fine line between inquiring if an employee needs support in the new job role and asking inappropriate questions about mental health that may eradicate the chance for a capable person to be hired.

This shows that you care and respect your workers’ privacy while considering they are facing mental health issues.

Mental Health Issue at Work – The Fundamental Problem

Mental health complications are predominant. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in every 8 people who suffer from a mental disorder,  i.e., 970 million people around the globe, have gone through depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in the previous years.

The great factor involved is not having proper communication about the issue and avoiding it, especially in the workplace. Both an employer and workers find it comfortable to stay out of discussions of their mental health issues at the workplace to avoid any hesitation and judgment.

Managers do so because they think, for example, learning about the depression of an employee could make them feel discriminated against based on their ailment.  On the other hand, staff members fear being cold-shouldered, facing hurdles in their everyday work, or even losing a job.

The issue, if properly tackled and treated in the workplace can be beneficial for both companies and their workforce.

The stigma that revolves around mental health issues make it difficult for people to open up about it and makes it a question of privacy for most people at work. As much as people think mental health issues are taboo subject, it is still a significant problem that needs to be addressed to ensure that people feel safe and secure while opening up about them. 

The Practical Solution

Countries like the USA have laws that prevent companies and employers from asking job candidates about their mental health and medical status. Employees can be assessed later once a job offer has been extended to see whether they can perform their duties well as required by the job. This assessment may include both cognitive or emotional, and physical evaluations.

Alongside this, employers could also create mental health awareness within their workplace for their employees. The problem can also be addressed by having a designated person at work to talk about mental health or emotional distress. For this, they must be fully trained and well aware of how to deal with the problem.

A few training courses they can offer are mental health awareness training, mental health first aid training, workplace stress training, sickness absence training, or other relevant subjects.


Suffering from mental health illnesses these days is quite common and talking about is nothing to be ashamed of. Both employers and their employees should be open about it. Employers can do their part by creating open and non-judgmental communication sessions with their staff Moreover, there should be a designated person at the workplace to count on in minimizing the problem and coping with emotional distress.

Everyone has the right to maintain their privacy so, an employer has to make sure no one gets hurt in the process while seeking help.