Explains how you can be mentally healthy at work, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.
Many people find going to work is good for their mental health. It can help you look after your mental health by providing:
"I found work helps me to maintain an important part of my identity – separate from the illness. It's still me in here."
At times you may find that your work is affected because of your mental health problem. For instance, if you are experiencing hypomania, you might find it difficult to concentrate. But by making a few changes, and with support from your employer, work can be a positive experience.
Unfortunately, you might find work can has a negative impact on your mental health. This could be because of:
If work is affecting your mental health, you can take steps to address the problems.
"Work takes my mind off my mental illness but also makes it worse as no-one around you knows what you are going through so you have to pretend everything is fine."
Whether you have a mental health problem or not, your employer has a duty of care to you under health and safety legislation. Employees have the right to:
For more information, see the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
People experience unemployment for different reasons, such as:
When looking for a new job, challenges such as finding a suitable role, writing applications and attending interviews can take time. You might find that being unemployed affects your confidence, or that it can be disheartening if employers don't get back to you. See our pages on wellbeing and increasing your self-esteem for ways to look after yourself.
If you have a mental health problem and you're facing barriers to finding employment, there are organisations that can support you.
If you are unable to work there are still ways of getting the benefits of having a job, such as meeting new people, gaining skills and contributing to a community. If you feel able to, you may want to think about:
This information was published in April 2016. We will revise it in 2019.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.