This World Mental Health Day, Consider How You Can Reduce Stigma At Work

Kelly Greenwood | Founder & CEO, Mind Share Partners

Given its massive prevalence, this means that mental health affects every conference call, every team and every meeting.
More than two-thirds of employees hide their mental health conditions from their coworkers. The burden of having to do that can actually be more challenging than the condition itself.

This article was originally published on Forbes.



When many of us think of someone with a mental health condition, we think of a homeless person or the perpetrator of a school shooting, thanks, in large part, to the media. On the flip side, we think of the quirky, creative celebrity who struggles every now and then but is able to take time off in between projects. But how many of us think of the high-performing professional who is successful at work but has occasional flare-ups of a condition like depression or anxiety, much like someone with chronic asthma?


That high-performing professional is me. And it is very likely one of your colleagues, too.


We are actually the much more accurate—and common—profile of someone managing a mental health condition. In fact, mental health conditions are more common than cancer, heart disease or diabetes—combined. Up to 80% of Americans will experience a diagnosable mental health condition at some point during their lives, whether they know it or not. For some, this will be chronic, and for others, it will be temporary—perhaps in reaction to the loss of a job or a loved one. We all move back and forth along the spectrum of mental wellness throughout the course of our lives.

Given its massive prevalence, this means that mental health affects every conference call, every team and every meeting.

Does this come as a surprise? If so, it’s probably because we’re very good at keeping ourselves hidden. There are many of us excelling in top companies all over the world and hiding because of the still deeply entrenched stigma around what it means to have a mental health condition.


My nonprofit, Mind Share Partners, created this new video to give people a glimpse into what it’s like to be a working professional navigating a day with a mental health condition. While this individual initially appears distressed in order to give us a sense of his inner experience, many people are all too effective at ensuring that their conditions remain invisible until they improve.


More than two-thirds of employees hide their mental health conditions from their coworkers. The burden of having to do that can actually be more challenging than the condition itself.

According to a Deloitte U.K. study, 95% of people who have taken time off due to stress gave another reason, such as a headache or stomach issue.