How to handle mental illness in the workplace 

Mental illness has become a hot topic for employees and employers. During the pandemic, we have had to grapple with physical illness, death, isolation, increased responsibilities, and ever-changing government and workplace policies.

Although mental illness is more accepted than it used to be, stigma still exists.

How and under what circumstances should you disclose your mental illness to your employer?

How should an employer handle this type of disclosure?

Here are some guidelines on how to handle mental illness in the workplace.

If you’re an employee who suffers from mental illness:

Ask yourself these three questions before you disclose your illness to your employer:

1. Is there a good reason for me to disclose my illness? For example, do I need a reasonable accommodation so I can continue to work?

2. What is my company’s culture when it comes to mental illness? Will I be supported, ostracized, or ridiculed?

3. Who in my company is the best person to disclose this to?

If you’re an employer:

Determine what you want your company culture to be around mental illness, so you can be supportive of your employees while recognizing that work still needs to get done. You also should have a policy in place regarding the confidentiality of such disclosures and how to address requests for reasonable accommodations.

This stuff isn’t easy, so if you have questions about any of this, or if you’re an employer and need help creating and implementing your mental health policy, give us a call at 973-787-8442 or email us at


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