The Mental Health Impact of Sending Honest Emails at Work
I believe there is nothing unprofessional in being honest about your mental health at work. Since emails are an official means of communication in workplaces everywhere, employees should ensure they are real. Of course, the onus is on the employer because anyone in a mental health-unfriendly organization will hesitate to disclose mental health issues. But this does not mean employees are powerless. And in a pandemic world, where more and more people are suffering from conditions like depression, genuine emails are crucial.1
Let's Normalize Mental Health Conversations via Work Email
Mental health should not be a mere buzzword at work, nor should it be brought up only on "special" occasions like World Mental Health Day. Most companies I know of are only being performative in this regard, and it's high time this stops. While many changes are needed to fix corporate culture, honest emails seem like an effective way to normalize mental health conversations right now.
For example, consider the following scenario. A female employee who is also a newly single mother is experiencing more stress than usual at work. She is depressed and on the verge of burnout because she is also raising two small children. She considers asking her manager to delegate some work to another employee, but she decides to take a few mental health days to recover instead. However, she emails saying she needs time off to deal with a "family emergency." When she returns to work, her workload is the same as usual. And soon enough, she is again in the same situation as before.
If she had been honest about her mental health struggles with her manager, it is likely they would have helped her. But by not speaking up about her issues, she lost this possibility. What's more, her honesty would also have encouraged others to open up.
Step Up and Write Honest Work Emails Yourself
People tend to conform and toe the line until someone dares to break free and do the right thing. And then that person slowly inspires others to do the same. I have seen this happen in multiple situations in life, and I am sure you have seen it as well. So if nobody is being authentic in work emails, maybe you can kick off a movement by telling everyone how you are doing. Eventually, you may be why coworkers stop using fake words like great to describe their state of mind.
- World Health Organization (WHO), "COVID-19 Pandemic Triggers 25% Increase in Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression Worldwide." Accessed April 28, 2022.
Shaikh, M. (2022, April 28). The Mental Health Impact of Sending Honest Emails at Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/workandbipolarordepression/2022/4/the-mental-health-impact-of-sending-honest-emails-at-work