Mental Health Judgement in the Workplace
by Aisling Heavey, See Change Ambassador
Opening up about mental health difficulties in the workplace can be very difficult. Even though I work as a healthcare professional, I’m aware that we are all human, and that we will all make judgements on others.
For me, talking about my mental illness in my previous workplaces was quite difficult, and something I would only share with supervisors, to help with any problems I was having. I worked in a big team, and as one of the relatively new senior members of the team, I felt that it was my job to maintain an image, and to not show any ‘weakness’. I had a fear that I would be judged as being weak for being open about my mental illness. Even though I knew that it does not make me weak, and that I am much stronger for being able to work through some of the things that have affected me previously.
At times when you work in larger healthcare settings such as hospitals, you hear throwaway comments regarding mental illness or mental health issues. These comments may seem harmless to the person making them, but to someone like me who already has a fear of judgement, hearing them makes you even less likely to want to share. I think we all need to consider this day to day, and to recognise how we may be judging others and what we can do to be kinder.
Where I currently work, I feel a lot more comfortable talking openly about these subjects and my own experiences. I recognise that judgement does occur, and we all have our own biases. However, talking openly about experiences and sharing stories can help to educate people about mental illness and tackle some of the pre-conceived notions that people may have about certain conditions.
I am lucky in that regard, and I hope that with the help of organisations like See Change, other workplaces will become more open too.
If you are having a tough time at the moment and need to reach out for support, please contact any of the following