Big Blue Interactive The Corner Forum  
Back to the Corner

Archived Thread

NFT: Do you need to hide mental health issues in the workplace

CMicks3110 : 6/10/2019 10:40 pm
There were two individuals in my workplace that were recently fired. They both were extraordinarily talented, but I would admit that they weren't producing in a way that was commeserate with their talent---but it wasn't because of lack of effort, it was because people didn't want to work with them. In retrospect, I think it was clear that they both had some degree of a mental health issue. One was extremely paranoid that people were out to get him--he even accused me of recording him. I honestly feel that if he was just more chill they would have given him more work and taken advantage of his talent.

The second individual, was just on a mission to reorganize her entire department. Forcing her way into meetings and speaking up about subjects that she had knowledge about, but just overstepping her boundaries. I also think she suffered some sort of mental illness. Not quite sure what it was, but if they had a patient manager who knew how to take advantage of her talents, I think they could have gotten significant contributions from her. She did sorely lack in people skills.

I suffer with a mental illness, though not one that would be offensive in the workplace. I deal with at times crippling anxiety, though I'm almost certain no one would notice. But it makes me feel less inclined to share or be open about it.

I guess my question is, in a corporate work environment, what is the appropriate way as a manager to deal with mental health issues, and waht is the best way for an employee to deal with it?
I can't speak for your larger ?  
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 6/10/2019 10:44 pm : link
But as someone who deals with anxiety-crippling at times-I think a lot of other people don't recognize it. We as a society don't address it as much as we should.
the anxiety is the worst  
CMicks3110 : 6/10/2019 10:47 pm : link
and it's so unnecessary. But it's like my body just goes into fight or flight mode, even over the smallest meetings. No one notices, and once I get into a presentation or a discussion, I'm fine. But the anticipation just is so frustrating. I just can't have an easy, free-flowing conversation
Mental health first aid training is invaluable  
j_rud : 6/10/2019 10:49 pm : link
Educates people on how to recognize and respond to mental health issues. I'm a counselor and I work in a hospital for a fairly large health system. I'm required to have one hour of direct supervision with my director, also a counselor, albeit with much more experience. Sometimes it's a gripe session, sometimes it's very close to actual counseling, albeit work-related. It's a strange profession, certainly not the norm, but I do love it. I also have someone I can see who is not connected to the job when I need an outside opinion.

The stigma regarding mental health has improved in my lifetime, but we're still far away from where we need to be with recognizing it's impact and importance.
Not an expert on mental illness or your co workers behavior  
ron mexico : 6/11/2019 5:59 am : link
But those sound like personality issues, not mental illness.

Bottom line, they weren't productive. I highly doubt they were fired because the disclosed diagnosed mental health issues to management or HR. They probably would have been protected if they did so and asked management for help dealing with their illness in the work place.
CMicks, I will try to contact a knowledgable HR person I know  
idinkido : 6/11/2019 6:38 am : link
and reply here if or when I get the answer. This is a serious question.
RE: Not an expert on mental illness or your co workers behavior  
gmenatlarge : 6/11/2019 7:23 am : link
In comment 14468922 ron mexico said:
Quote:
But those sound like personality issues, not mental illness.

Bottom line, they weren't productive. I highly doubt they were fired because the disclosed diagnosed mental health issues to management or HR. They probably would have been protected if they did so and asked management for help dealing with their illness in the work place.


Your attitude is exactly why people are reluctant to disclose mental health problems and is why the OP posed the question.
I said they would be protected  
ron mexico : 6/11/2019 7:27 am : link
If they went to management and asked for help to overcome issues that are impacting their productivity.

Maybe I didn't do a good job explaining my point, but I'm not following how you got to where you did.
Without addressing mental health issues  
Mattman : 6/11/2019 7:45 am : link
EQ is just as important if not more so IQ. Just to add, I suffer from recurrent mdd so getting treatment for that and working to stay on top of it has greatly helped my eq.
The company  
pjcas18 : 6/11/2019 8:07 am : link
has to protect themselves and their shareholders first.

They are not there to nor are they qualified to (in most cases) diagnose a mental health issue.

If someone comes to the company and discloses a mental health issue I think the company has a responsibility to help the person get through it and remain an active employee.

but if someone is just unproductive or impacts others' productivity for undisclosed reasons, the company is under no obligation or expectation to try to find out why.

Good managers will, but again, that's not the purpose of the company, nor should it be an expectation.

So no, you should not hide mental health issues in the workplace, that's how we wind up with "incidents" (undisclosed mental health issues in general), but if you do hide it or don't even realize it, the company is not the right source to discover or diagnose it.

If you understand what I'm saying.

IMO.
In your specific example  
ron mexico : 6/11/2019 8:21 am : link
The best course of action is to self scout and discuss your weaknesses with your manager, whether they are mental health related or not.

Managers don't expect everyone to be great at everything. A normal manager will not put you in a situation where you are likely to fail. A great manager will help you work through your weaknesses. Only a real shit ball will use that as a reason to dismiss you.

The worst kind of problem employee is one who doesn't think/know they are a problem.
Just what are "mental health"  
section125 : 6/11/2019 8:23 am : link
issues? Just because a person is not the same as you doesn't mean they have a mental health problem. Many people have some annoying habit or tendency that may bother others in the workplace - called personality. It is hard to work with others in a close environment and yes some people have trouble with social cues, but that does not mean they have mental issues.
CMicks just because you have anxiety over making presentations doesn't mean you have a mental issue - it is pretty normal especially if you are a perfectionist dwelling on each detail of your work. Is it debilitating - doesn't sound like it? If it is that could be an issue, but sounds like you work your way through it with much success.
For those struggling with anxiety...please get the book  
Bold Ruler : Mod : 6/11/2019 8:44 am : link
Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes. Excerpts of audio recordings of the book are below. She literally got me past anxiety.

If anyone wants to talk about this or my experience, I am happy to discuss at length.
Dr. Claire Weekes - ( New Window )
Mental health coverage by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)  
Marty in Albany : 6/11/2019 8:47 am : link
Here is some useful information
Link - ( New Window )
CMicks the most appropriate answer for anyone experiencing  
idinkido : 6/11/2019 8:59 am : link
mental health issues is to be diagnosed, treated, and advised by professionals.
Thanks Bold Ruler  
fivehead : 6/11/2019 9:33 am : link
I'll give that book a shot.
My office is very understanding  
Bill L : 6/11/2019 1:29 pm : link
I tell people I have Tourette's and it gets me out of a lot of trouble. Understanding bunch of fuckers where I work.
You may or may not be surprised  
CardinalX : 6/11/2019 3:38 pm : link
At what other people notice or are aware of, but just not willing or comfortable discussing. If it were myself, I might first try to get a legal consultation on how my job or rights might be protected if I discussed my issue with the corporation, and what recourse I might have if I my job were impacted by the discussion (termination or change in duties/responsibilities etc). Then i would look into what my company/ HR said in print or what their policy was related to mental health issues/coverage/help. Good luck with how ever you proceed
I think the problem is  
Vanzetti : 6/11/2019 9:42 pm : link
that educational system indulges various socalled disorders" by rewarding people with extra time on exams and other perks, like not completing work on time and skipping class

then you get in the business world and you don't get those perks, so the full force of whatever mental issues you have hit you full-force and all at once.

In the past, people learned to deal with issues like anxiety as they went from grade to grade. I was incredibly anxious as a kid but I learned to deal with it slowly over time. That does not happen when you get "rewarded" for your disorder

I think we are suffering from a huge overcorrection in our education system. We did need to become more sensitive to mental issues but now the pendulum has swung way too far in the opposite direction, and the main problem is the mental health industry itself--which has largely been a huge failure

RE: the anxiety is the worst  
short lease : 6/12/2019 1:08 am : link
In comment 14468762 CMicks3110 said:
Quote:
and it's so unnecessary. But it's like my body just goes into fight or flight mode, even over the smallest meetings. No one notices, and once I get into a presentation or a discussion, I'm fine. But the anticipation just is so frustrating. I just can't have an easy, free-flowing conversation


CMicks ... right there with you. Been dealing with depression and anxiety (on and off) since I was a teenager. I think it was more of a stigma at one time but, recently (last 10 years?) - people have been more open about it. Seems like the size and strength of the stigma attached is not as great as it once was?
A couple thoughts on an interesting thread  
bhill410 : 6/12/2019 4:34 am : link
- I have managed people at a company that made products for these diseases, so there is likely a little bit more understanding and knowledge floating around than say a shift manager at a tire plant

That said, any good manager should have a cursory understanding of both the professional strengths/weaknesses of their team and also some of the ongoing personal events (assuming they are shared appropriately).

For instance, I hve had folks go through divorces and family emergencies and of course you consider the mental impact of such events when assessing performance and bandwidth.

I have also had folks that to my very undiagnosed eye were likely on the spectrum. In those instances you have to be aware of what their ceiling is and adjust. In todayís corporate America you are always being asked to continue to grow your employees (as they are assets if you do); but what is rarely discussed is that some folks are going to grow much slower and may frankly reach skill level limits. Itís very unHR but if you are 50 years old and paranoid at presenting to senior management but great at articulating the message to those that are, chances are thatís not a fear you are ever going to overcome.

Thatís a very long winded diatribe that most managers if they are aware of mental health issues will try and still put their employees in positions to succeed and work around it if the employee isnít being disruptive or disrespectful. Most folks arenít blind, but on the same note they arenít the best folks to ensure someone gets better either.
Back to the Corner