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Talking to Your Co-Workers About Your Mental Health

Are you worried your mental health may be affecting your work? Are you wondering if you should share this information with your co-workers? While the effects may vary in terms of severity, many find that struggling with their mental health can very much interfere with day-to-day productivity in the workplace. 

If you are looking to have that conversation at work, but don’t quite know where to start, Bridget DeFiccio LPC, Senior Vice President of Integrated Health at Acenda, shares the following tips:

1. Write down what you’re feeling and thinking. Writing can sometimes help to organize and clarify what you’re feeling internally when you can’t seem to find the words themselves to speak out loud.

2. Consider what support services your workplace offers. Many places of employment offer an EAP, or an Employee Assistance program. An EAP is a benefit program that assists employees with things that may impact their job performance, health, and mental and emotional well-being. 

3. Remember that you are not alone. Look around your office, or at the squares in your virtual meetings, and consider that several of your coworkers are possibly also struggling with their own mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has reported that nearly 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness.

4. Create a buddy system. Invite a co-worker to join you in activities to help reduce stress or relieve anxiety such as walking, having a coffee off the worksite, or starting a book club. Creating friendships in the workplace helps to build a sense of trust and support when you need someone to talk to.

5. Don’t let fear of a stigma in the workplace hold you back. As a society, we are evolving in such a way that mental health is deemed just as important as physical health. Some companies are even encouraging their employees to take time off as mental health days just as they would if they were feeling sick.