Work and mental health Please note: this resource is for people managing their own mental health at work.
If you are an employer, see our information on taking care of your staff. If you are looking for legal advice about your rights at work, see our pages on discrimination at work and disability discrimination for more information. Many people find going to work is good for their mental health. It can help you look after your mental health by providing:
a source of income a sense of identity contact and friendship with others a steady routine and structure opportunities to gain achievements and contribute 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.
What if work is making my mental health worse? Unfortunately, you might find work can has a negative impact on your mental health. This could be because of:
Workplace stress Poor relations with your colleagues The type of work you're doing Experiencing stigma, or being treated unfairly because of your mental health problem Being unsure whether to tell your boss and colleagues about your mental health problem worrying about returning to work after a period of poor mental health 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:
work where risks to their health are properly controlled protection after returning to work from sickness absence if they have become more vulnerable due to their illness For more information, see the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).