5 Steps for Successfully Talking to Your Manager About Your Mental Health Concerns

5 Steps for Successfully Talking to Your Manager About Your Mental Health Concerns

by Katie DiMuzio

If you feel like your mental health needs require some extra attention that may influence your workflow, you might want to speak with your supervisor or manager about it.

As daunting as that may seem, it’s usually better to have a proactive talk than wait until your concerns become full-blown problems that impact job performance.

Here are six tips for bringing up your mental health with your manager at work:

  1. Start by talking to a trusted colleague:

    Before raising the issue directly with your boss or manager, talk it out with a trusted colleague or work friend. Mentioning the struggles you’re having to them, and knowing they will support you through the process, can be a big help and confidence boost. They may even have some ideas to implement immediately that can help you at work.

  2. Think ahead if you need to go through HR:

    Who, exactly, in your company should you reach out to? If you’re not confident enough or don’t feel comfortable speaking with your boss directly, speak to someone in your Human Resources or People Operations department.

  3. Decide what you want to say:

    Determine in advance what you’re hoping to get out of the conversation.

    Perhaps you need to shift some deadlines, want to take some time off, or hope to cut your hours down slightly. Maybe you want to ask about a flexible work schedule or working from home. Maybe you want to see a therapist, but are concerned you don’t have the time to do so. Before your conversation, think of your main talking points. Rehearse them with yourself or someone you trust to alleviate your nerves and gain clarity.

  4. Meet with your manager at a predetermined time:

    This could be arranged by email, a Slack message, or a simple “Hey, can we grab coffee and chat for a few minutes?”

    You know your company culture best – let that be your guide in how to request the sit down!

  5. Approach gently and clearly:

    You can start the conversation with “I need to talk about something important, do you have time right now to listen?

    Then, explain only what you think is necessary. Use concise and specific statements about the impact of your mental health concerns on your work.

    Be professional, while conveying your gratitude for their time. If done right, your manager can help you make the right changes so that you can get back to working at your very best!

Ready to start therapy? Check out Zencare.co to find a therapist who can help you navigate the best course of action for your particular mental health concerns and work environment.

Katie DiMuzio

Katie DiMuzio, LCSW, is the Partnerships Manager at Zencare. Through her work as a licensed clinician, Katie discovered how hard it is for people to learn about and access high quality therapy. This brought her to Zencare, where she is leading partnerships in the community to ensure Zencare is reaching those who need it.