If you are one of the 43.8 million adults in America who struggles with mental illness each year, you may be aware that these struggles can impact every area of your life. Isolation caused by depression can damage friendships, while panic and stress from anxiety disorders can put a strain on romantic partners. However, one of the worst ways that mental illness can affect your life is by interfering with your work life or career.
One way mental health issues can affect your career is by causing gaps in your work history. You might worry that future employers will inquire about these and that the stigma of mental illness will prevent you from getting a job.
Luckily, this article on the Talkspace blog can help you write a resume or cover letter that manages those gaps properly. The author recommends being honest but brief when discussing these gaps and their causes. Making your resume functional, instead of purely chronological like most resumes, can be helpful as well. Build your resume to be all about your skills and experience and not just a time log of past jobs. A second article, found on CareerTrend.com, recommends emphasizing that any health issues are in the past and to focus on what you hope to achieve in the future, especially during job interviews.
Another way mental illness can affect your work life is by making job stress more difficult to handle. Whether you have a mild or a severe mental illness, if you are struggling internally you will have more difficulty performing under stressful situations at work. For some people, it might be worthwhile to reflect on different career choices. It is important that individuals with mental health issues are given a stable environment to work in and an extremely high-pressure career may not be able to provide that. A professional therapist can help you navigate the process of choosing a good path for you. Fortunately, the Talkspace app can be extremely beneficial in this situation because you can simply sign up and begin texting a therapist without a huge money or time commitment, helping yourself navigate a path to a happier life.
Even if you do not wish to change your career, it can still be helpful to have a therapist that can advise you during difficult times at work. Having someone that can teach you healthy coping skills can prevent you from damaging your career when your mental illness is causing you to struggle. A Talkspace therapist can help you create a personalized self-care plan to take care of your mental health.
For example, a therapist might check in with you and encourage you to journal, get 30 minutes of exercise every day, and vent to trusted friends. Again, the Talkspace app can be helpful in this situation because it allows you to message your therapist on your own time. If schedule conflicts prevent you from visiting a therapist regularly but you still need to vent, writing your therapist on the app is always available and your therapist will respond to you within a reasonable time frame. You can also use the app to schedule video sessions with your therapist to have more in-depth conversations if you feel the need to.
For some people, stress at work will arise periodically. For others, stress comes in long and intense stretches. If you work preparing personal tax documents, for example, the first four months of the year are extremely busy and hectic and can cause anxiety for anyone. In these cases, your Talkspace therapist can help you mentally prepare for the upcoming season of stress. It is also important to remember that you commit to projects at work that you can reasonably complete. Make sure you are promising only what you can deliver at work. That should prevent any extra flare-ups in panic and stress.
Did you know that the World Health Organization lists the most common ways mental illness can affect work performance? These ways include: increased absences, reduced productivity, increased errors, loss of motivation, tension between colleagues, and disciplinary problems. If you are struggling with any of these issues, it is important to seek psychological help. Studies show that the most effective treatment for mental illness is a combination of both medication and therapy. However, many people neglect their therapy needs due to the high cost, time commitment, and social stigma of receiving therapy. The Talkspace app is advantageous in these situations because it is affordable, available whenever you need it, and can be used privately. The unlimited messaging plan will get you 1-2 regular responses per day from your therapist, five days per week. This is equivalent to a 50-minute therapy session spread out over the course of a work week. For more in-depth therapy sessions, you can schedule video sessions with your counselor, which can be great for people going through a particularly difficult time. This option is also great for people who simply prefer a face-to-face conversation over text messaging.
Mental health issues can certainly affect your career, so it is important to set yourself up for success. This includes: emphasizing your skills on your resume, talking to your doctor about medication, and using an app like Talkspace to have a professional therapist within reach. Your therapist can help you deal with new problems, help you prepare for upcoming periods of stress, and give you advice for maintaining mental health in the workplace and throughout your life. If you have a mental illness, you can still be an amazing member of the team at work, if you set yourself up for success!