How to talk to your boss about mental health?

Do you need help talking to your boss about mental health? Don’t know where to start? Afraid of getting fired or being labeled as “crazy”? Fear not, my anxiety-ridden friend, this guide is here to help! In this article, we’ll go over some tips and tricks on how you can approach the subject with your employer without feeling like a total basket case.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Talking About Mental Health

First things first – why should you even bother bringing up mental health with your boss? Well, for starters, it’s important that they understand what’s going on in your life so that they can better support you during tough times. Additionally, it sets an example for others who might be struggling silently, letting them know that it’s okay to speak up if they need help.

Talking to your boss can also lead to accommodations at work that could make a huge difference in how well you’re able to manage your symptoms. For example, if you’re dealing with anxiety, allowing for flexible scheduling or telecommuting options could significantly reduce stress levels.

Most importantly though, taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health. It’s time we treat it as such!

Tips for Starting the Conversation

Okay now onto the juicy part – actually starting the conversation! Here are some tips:

Get Clear On What You Want To Say

Before approaching your superior, get really clear on what specifically you want/need from them regarding mental wellbeing accommodations/schedule changes etc., but remember there are limits based off company policy so don’t expect too much!

Choose Your Timing Carefully

Timing is key when having difficult conversations with anyone, including bosses. Avoid trying bring this up when their cup is overflowing, perhaps when they just got a telling off from their boss or before an important meeting. In general though, it’s better to speak sooner rather than later so any accommodations can be put in place asap.

Find A Private Space

Assuming that your employer may get anxious and quesy themselves when discussing stuff like this, try to find somewhere private where no one else will overhear the conversation. Not only does this make you feel safer and more open, but it also ensures complete confidentiality which some people might fear breaking.

Start With Context

Sometimes blabbering out “I’m feeling depressed” straight up can be jarring for everyone involved, not to mention leave unanswered questions and confusion. Try starting with context, explaining exactly what’s been going on in the workplace that have made things very difficult/bleak recently( mentally specifically) then easing into how stressors are having ill effects outside of work too.

Practice What You Want To Say

If you get nervous easily or have anxiety about having confrontational conversations, practice beforehand! Sometimes even saying something simple like “I’ve been experiencing some significant mental health issues lately” can make us squirm with awkward shame if we’re caught by surprise!

Dos & Don’ts For Talking About Mental Health: Confidently Creating Change While Maintaining Reputation

Now comes the really important part – DOs and DON’Ts!


  • Explain emotional states/actions/symptoms clearly without being long-winded
  • Let your superiors know why taking care of your mental health matters both personally AND professionally (staying proactive keeps sick days taken to a minimum)
  • Highlight company policies/options available (if any) regarding physical illness vs psychological well-being accommodation options (there should be no difference usually!)
  • Speak calmly/even-toned despite feelings of agitation/nervousness
  • Ask what kind of accommodations could make things easier for you


  • Make assumptions about how they’ll react based on rumor/fear
  • Use mental health as an “excuse” to get out of work or misuse allocated privileges/accommodations
  • Blame your employer/colleagues solely for personal feelings of distress/emotional states
  • Express urgency or emergency unless it is really a pressing matter (definitely avoid exaggerating if not necessary!)
  • Continue working without rest if clearly experiencing difficulties due to their work/mind-set

What To Do After the Conversation Is Over

After talking to your boss, there are still some steps you can take to ensure success!

Follow Up & Request Next Steps

Definitely ask about what the next move might be after sharing your side. If plans have been made, don’t forget them afterwards and remain mindful until any changes eventually commence.

Keep Your Relationship Professional

While trying open up this subject honestly often entails a closer relationship between employer and employee,,” keep yourself in check”. Maintain formalities as always but also respectfully try not overshare details post conversation.(unless a very light vibe was exclusively established) Don’t forget that workplace boundaries should still be respected, no matter how understanding/patient the other party may be regarding mental health.
Also, don’t talk badly about anyone involved in these conversations behind their back – word travels quickly and that’s bad juju keeps around !

### Take Necessary Time Off As Needed

At times when just taking off one day can dramatically improve situations for us mentally , go ahead .Sometimes we need time away from work to recover/resetting/upstart new treatment/testing options so do consider using sick days available if possible. A nice long weekend/vacation never hurt anybody although only use within agreed upon parameters!

Find Additional Support Sources

It’s important to acknowledge that—although valuable in supporting us— employers are there primarily to make sure business operations run smoothly. Make use of other support options like your Doctor, Counsellors or Mental Health Charity groups for group therapy etc., and don’t ever feel like you’re going at this alone!

The Takeaway

There is no need to be afraid when it comes to talking about mental health with your boss. If approached correctly, the conversation can lead to a deeper understanding between employer and employee while allowing potentially life-changing accommodations that will greatly improve working conditions/sentiment towards one’s job.

Stay professional while remaining honest as well as open, making environment more ambient than hostile . Remember that taking care of our mental health is nothing less important than physical sick leave reasons—Don’t let fears or anxiety hold you back from expressing how crucial an issue this really is over-all. Good luck- now go out there, and kick some stress-loaded buttocks outta here!