The law has been strengthened on what
an employer can or cannot ask about a prospective employee’s health
and disability and when the employer can
do this in the recruitment process.
However, it is up to you to decide what to tell an employer
about your mental ill-health, and there are a number of things to
- how you view your mental ill-health
- how you want to start to build a relationship
with your prospective employer
- how your condition, including the
treatment and medicines you take, might affect the type of
work you can do. For example, medication can affect whether
you can drive safely and legally.
You may feel that if you choose to disclose information about
your mental ill-health, you control how this information is
presented, and can describe how you have overcome
difficulties. If you tell your employer about your mental
health problem, it can make it easier to get the right
support in place for you.
On the other hand, it may not be easy or
straightforward. 52% of people with a psychiatric history
have hidden this fact from their employer for fear of losing
their job. Some people report that employers have
lost interest when they tell them about their mental
However, it is often better than
this. Surveys of companies that have employed people with
a mental health problem suggest that they generally did
not regret doing so.
ambitions: Better employment support for people with a mental
Rachel Perkins, Paul Farmer
and Paul Litchfield
Department for Work and
Pensions, December 2009
This review was commissioned
by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to look at mental
health and employment and to identify how Government could help
people with mental health conditions fulfil their employment
ambitions. Appendix 7 of the report sets out the advantages
and disadvantages of disclosing information about mental ill-health
The section on work includes
pros and cons on disclosing personal information to an employer to
help you to decide what to tell, when and how.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development and MIND
Managing and supporting mental health at work – disclosure
tools for managers, will help employers ensure that how they manage
people supports their mental wellbeing and resilience, and also
encourage more employees to talk about any mental health issues
they may be facing at an early stage.
Work and Mental Illness Factsheet
This Rethink factsheet sets
out the advantages and disadvantages of telling an employer about
your mental health.
Building a career of your choice
Waghorn, G., Harris, M.,
Cleary, C., King, J., and Lloyd, C. Canberra: Australian Government
Department of Health and Ageing, 2008.
This booklet has a short
section on ‘Managing personal information in the workplace’.
It gives examples of some of the benefits of disclosing information
about mental ill-health and how to approach this.
Next to >>>
Support at work
when you have a mental health problem
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