When Working and Mental Health Intersect


Occasionally, mental health professionals will not advise individuals who are symptomatic to work. While some individuals may want to consider this as an option, it’s also good to consider other alternatives that would allow them to maintain their employment, while still taking action to care for their mental health. Remember, lack of productivity or lack of a meaningful way to spend one’s time can also increase symptoms. 

So what can you do if you notice your symptoms are occurring while you are working?

Contact your job coach.

Job coaches are able to advocate on your behalf to your employer, with your written permission. For example, they can help with reducing your hours or making sure you have the proper accommodations at work. Quitting your job when your symptoms are interfering with your ability to function may seem like the only option when you are experiencing mental health symptoms, but job coaches are trained to work with employers to reduce the likelihood of this being necessary. 

Have you had any recent changes in your life?

Sometimes it can be hard to separate work from other stressors. Talk with your therapist and or psychiatrist to see if something is taken place in your life that may be increasing stress or anxiety in your life. Your treatment team can help with exploring new coping skills and see if you need adjustments to your medication.

Take time off from work.

You can take advantage of your vacation time,  paid-time-off, or even short term disability, so you can still have an income while you are taking time to care for yourself. Even if you are unable to have income from your job, take time off as it will allow you to focus on your health. Your treatment team may suggest alternative treatment, such as attending an outpatient or inpatient program or support group.

Experiencing symptoms while employed can be scary and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your job. By using these tips, you can often keep your job and still make sure that you are taking care of your mental health. 


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