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Pros and cons of working with your mental illness

Learn about how you can work with a mental health condition and how to ask for the help and support from your employer that is right for you.


Working with a mental health condition can be very difficult; it can also be difficult to get the right kind of support from your employer. According to, ‘1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.’

The Citizens Advice found that employees ‘experiencing mental health problems made it eight times more likely that people would find it difficult to go to work, three times more likely that their relationship with colleagues would deteriorate and twice as likely to leave their job.’

Unfortunately, due to how mental health problems can affect individuals there is a huge disability employment gap. Only 36% of working people with a work-limiting mental health condition have a job, this is compared with 80% of non-disabled people without health conditions.

Pros of work

Working can provide individuals with an array of benefits for their health and personal lives, such as:

  • Improve your quality of life and wellbeing
  • Give you structure and routine to your day-to-day life
  • Provide you with a sense of purpose
  • A chance to broaden social inclusion and support
  • Offers financial security.

Cons of work

Working can also provide many difficulties and obstacles for people with mental health problems, such as:

  • Increased stress and anxiety from your work environment
  • Concern that you might not receive enough help or understanding from your employer and colleagues
  • Fear of receiving discrimination relating to your mental health condition
  • Reduced productivity and output – which in turn can lead to fears of dismissal.

Getting extra assistance at work

If you are concerned about your mental health problems affecting your work, there are a number of factors that might be able to help you and your employer decide what is best for you.

You could arrange regular meetings with your manager to act as a check in, so that you can discuss how your workload is affecting you and so that the both of you can determine whether there is anything that can be changed in order to accommodate to your needs.

If you attend regular doctor appointments, you can schedule a meeting with your manager and discuss the possibility of flexible hours.

Communicate clearly with your employer and colleagues what you require from them, in terms of support and additional help. Don’t expect people to know what you need.

Find out if the company you work for can provide any mental health assistance or support.

Are you looking for employment, job training or support and advice? Then check out our Twin Employment and Training website and contact our team today.

If you are suffering from a mental illness, make sure you see your GP who will be able to assist you further or discover NHS services in your local area. Alternatively, if you need to speak to somebody regarding your mental health, there are a number of services you can contact:

  • Samaritans are open 24 hours, every day; please call 116 123.
  • SANEline are open from 4:30pm-10:30pm, every day; please call 0300 304 7000.
  • Mind Infoline are open 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday; please call 0300 123 3393.