The law has been strengthened on what
an employer can or cannot ask about a prospective employee’s health
and disability and when the employer can
do this in the recruitment process.
However, it is up to you to decide what to tell an employer
about your mental ill-health, and there are a number of things to
- how you view your mental ill-health
- how you want to start to build a relationship with your
- how your condition, including the treatment and medicines you
take, might affect the type of work you can do. For example,
medication can affect whether you can drive safely and
- The effect of medication on
carrying out tasks at work
You may feel that if you choose to disclose information about
your mental ill-health, you control how this information is
presented, and can describe how you have overcome difficulties. If
you tell your employer about your mental health problem, it can
make it easier to get the right support in place for you.
On the other hand, it may not be easy or straightforward. 52% of
people with a psychiatric history have hidden this fact from their
employer for fear of losing their job. Some people report that
employers have lost interest when they tell them about their mental
However, it is often better than this. Surveys of companies that
have employed people with a mental health problem suggest that they
generally did not regret doing so.
ambitions: Better employment support for people with a mental
Rachel Perkins, Paul Farmer and Paul Litchfield
Department for Work and Pensions, December 2009
This review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Work
and Pensions to look at mental health and employment and to
identify how Government could help people with mental health
conditions fulfil their employment ambitions. Appendix 7 of the
report sets out the advantages and disadvantages of disclosing
information about mental ill-health at work.
The section on work includes pros and cons on disclosing
personal information to an employer to help you to decide what to
tell, when and how.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and
Managing and supporting mental health at work – disclosure
tools for managers, will help employers ensure that how they manage
people supports their mental wellbeing and resilience, and also
encourage more employees to talk about any mental health issues
they may be facing at an early stage.
Building a career of your choice
Waghorn, G., Harris, M., Cleary, C., King, J., and Lloyd, C.
Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing,
This booklet has a short section on ‘Managing personal
information in the workplace’. It gives examples of some of the
benefits of disclosing information about mental ill-health and how
to approach this.