Lifestyle Health & Fitness September as Mental Health Awareness Month: Redditor's take on giving support to...

September as Mental Health Awareness Month: Redditor’s take on giving support to colleagues coping with mental health issues

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Some fear the consequences if others learn about their mental health issues

SINGAPORE: It’s September again, marking another mental health awareness month. In light of this, a Reddit user asked about giving support to colleagues coping with mental health issues.

Reddit post about mental health
Photo: Reddit / r/singapore

He shared, “I have been thinking about this recently after knowing that one of our colleagues in the department came back from a long period of non paid leave where she worked on improving her mental health.”

He said, “This generated some thoughts that I have been pondering about for some time, as it relates to our current team as well. We have one member who has confided in only me (as his team manager), and our team lead. At the moment we are showing empathy and being patient with his work and trying not to overload him too much, but I’m thinking what else can be done to ease him here.”

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He asked:

  • Do you declare your mental health status to your employers? (even if apparently it doesn’t affect your job grading)
  • Will you share with your closest colleagues about your issues?
  • How do you support your colleagues by making things easier for them and help them cope at work?
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Some commenters shared the fear of getting their mental health issues known because when they had the same experience, it didn’t really end well.

One shared, “Do NOT declare your condition to your employers. I’m not a fan of lying but I’ve been through a case where I was forced to resign from a government company cos they found out I had depression.

He added that he is not the kind that shares these things saying, ‘No I will not share to anybody in the workplace. Colleague or friend makes no difference.’

Answering the last question, he added, “Honestly? No one really cares as long as you get your job done. If not? Then they’ll fire you. Hard truth.”

Another shared his opinion saying, “your colleague must be really naive to think of you and your boss as trustworthy enough to share mental health pains. It can jeopardise their career indefinitely and she/he might not even know. Society is not ready to accept mental health issues as valid reasons.”

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Admiring the approach made by the company of the Redditor who posted on the issue, he added, “But good that your company granted sabbatical, though he/she could have used any other reason. Such things will be left on record forever.”

But he added his take on work friendships: “Colleagues will also never be friends, it’s too easy for betrayals to happen and you start throwing or you get thrown under the bus.”

Another shared how he’s on the same side as the Redditor who posted. He shared what they did to help, “We didn’t pressure our colleague to talk to us, neither was it declared in any written document. To be honest, I was rather surprised when he opened up during a face to face performance review and it was definitely not considered when it comes to grading his work.”

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He added, “I do have a few colleagues turned friends where we hang out quite a bit and talk about life. However, I can understand if people have their own fair share of betrayals by colleagues at work which makes friendship difficult.”

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Some have concerns about fairness and dealing with people faking it.

One shared, “What if the colleague is paid more”

Another asked, “Can I ask for everyone’s opinion as well. How do you deal with people who faked a mental health episode or use mental health to justify a shitty behaviour?”

Despite increased awareness, does the stigma surrounding mental health issues still persist in the workplace?

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