April Jobseeker Question of the Month

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“I had a breakdown at work. What do I do?”

If you have a mental health impairment, it’s understandable that you may be worried about being emotional at work. Our culture’s image of “professionalism” doesn’t allow much room for sudden crying or panic attacks.

If you’ve had a panic attack or emotional outburst at work because of a mental health issue, speak to your supervisor and apologize. Explain what happened and identify steps you will take to prevent it from happening again. If you feel comfortable with your supervisor, you can disclose that you have a mental health impairment.

Next, think about what you need to manage stress at work. What are your emotional triggers? Is it possible to remove yourself from a similar situation in the future? A mental health professional can work with you to identify these triggers and develop effective coping mechanisms.

Reach out to your human resources officer, too, and request accommodations for things that will make work more manageable. Examples include the ability to leave early once a week to see your counselor or a restructuring of your job duties to reduce stress.

Living with a mental health impairment means learning how to identify and respond to emotional triggers in a way that lets you keep your life on track and isn’t damaging to your employment. By working with your employer, you’ll reduce your stress and make future emotional outbursts at work far less likely.



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