Supports at Work
It is not generally publicised but people with challenges associated with anxiety and depression are provided with huge support and accommodations by Irish employers. So much so, workplace support is often the mainstay help that people often access to.
At a fundamental level, there is good protection provided by anti-discrimination law. For example, discrimination in recruiting and promoting based on a person’s disability (such as a mental health challenge) has long been outlawed.
Much more significant is the responsibility that employers have to provide people with disabilities with reasonable accommodation. In order to facilitate this, employers have been advised to adopt appropriate policies and procedures. A particularly important publication in this regard is IBEC’s Line Manager’s Guide to Mental Health and Wellbeing.
What Employers Have Been Recommended to Do
IBEC is the body that represents employers. Their guide makes very detailed recommendations on matters such as promoting wellbeing, facilitating work-life balance, nurturing an environment where staff members feel safe to disclose mental health challenges, early intervention and supporting and re-integrating staff who need to take time off work.
Should You Disclose Or Not Disclose?
A person with anxiety or depression is under no obligation to disclose this fact to their employer. Likewise, there is no obligation when applying for a job or a promotion. However, by not disclosing, you can make it difficult for your employer to make reasonable accommodation to meet your needs and to offer early intervention help in particular.
Who Should You Disclose To?
If your organisation has a HR function, they are usually first port of call and are likely to be discrete and experienced in handling matters. Peers can provide very useful forms of support. Consider talking to your manager and to how disclosing directly to them is likely to work out.