Mental Illness at Work

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about mental illness: My husband has been suffering from mental illness for quite a while and it continues to affect his performance at work

My husband has been suffering from mental illness for quite a while and it continues to affect his performance at work. He has recently gone in confidence to his HR dept. explaining his situation. He is asking his psychiatrist for a doctor’s note determining what accommodations he may need. What advise can you provide as to what the note should include and what accommodations to ask for? He works for a bank doing bad commercial loan analysis and has trouble with attention to detail. His boss doesn’t offer a lot of support; he mainly points out errors and fixes them himself. There are times at work where my husband has nothing to do and the boss provides him nothing to do and other time where he has reports to do that are unfamiliar and is given minimal guidance.

Signed, Accommodations?

Dear Accommodations?:

I expect that your husband and his psychiatrist have discussed those aspects of your husband’s work that are stressful, and between them they can arrive at what to request for the next several weeks. Our site provides communication not medical advice. But from the brief second-hand description of your husband and boss work-relationship, it appears that they both might benefit from a candid discussion of how they might work together more effectively. By that I mean, until your husband and his boss spell out what is expected, he will continue to feel that he has nothing to do and/or is pressured to provide reports without adequate guidelines.

Clarification of expectations is something that often is needed on the spot and/or negotiated in a time-out boss-bossed session. The psychiatrist and your husband might benefit from a request for regular daily sessions about assignments and also from follow-up confirmation of what is well done and needs correction. Your husband is fortunate to have a companion who is there to listen and lend support. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Coping is not a matter of luck; rather it is something that takes special effort sometimes even to muddle through. So may you both hang in there and learn to smile and cheer each other on. Tina Rowe added:May I also suggest that if your husband’s condition has been identified, a support group for that condition may be available, online or locally. Those groups might have the insights you want for developing ideas about accommodations, since they may have know many who have done the same things. It would be worth checking on. Best wishes to you!

William Gorden