Mental Health and Society 2: Mental Health and the Workplace


Incorporating full or part-time work into your schedule can be a major life transition. It is possible that some people may experience mental health problems that were previously unfamiliar to them when they enter the workplace for the first time. For people living with a mental illness, entering the workforce can involve new considerations around what to disclose and what support is necessary. Others may find themselves supporting a co-worker with mental health problems for the first time. Trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance is a challenge for most of us - whether we're new to our positions or not. This activity will get you thinking about what types of work you might find enjoyable, your workplace priorities, as well as ways to manage mental health in the workplace.


1. Complete at least one section of this Job Search Quiz to help you determine what sort of work may be an appropriate fit with your skills and interests.

2. Take a look at your results. Although it is hard to land your "dream job" in high school, or even decide what that job might be, think generally about whether you like to work alone or in a team, what type of environment you like to work in, how much supervision you like, etc.

3. Regardless of your work environment, it is likely that at some time or another you will encounter personal challenges in the workplace. Follow the link to Youth Central's Problems in the Workplace page, and read at least one of the listed topics that interest you.

4. Based on the results of your career quiz and your reading, brainstorm about some of the mental health related challenges you might encounter within an employment field that interests you.

5. After your brainstorm, write 1-2 paragraphs from an employers perspective for a 'help wanted' advertisement. Pretend you are writing the portion of the job posting that specifically lists what the company or organization does to promote mental health and well-being in the workplace. Consider the following as you complete this task:

  • As an employer, what supports would you provide your employees?
  • Think about the workplace problem page that you read. What positive steps could be taken ahead of time to avoid these and other issues that may affect your mental health?
Include both measures that might be relevant in any work environment (such as regularly scheduled breaks, realistic expectations, a schedule that doesn't interfere with school, etc.), as well as those specific to the employment field selected.

6. Post your paragraphs to the Student Writing section of the class, including the position title and/or employment field you chose. Be sure to select the appropriate assignment from the pulldown menu at the bottom of your submission.

7. Next, read at least one of your classmates' submissions and leave a reflection about their work as a comment.

Keep mental health considerations in mind the next time you search for a job, or reflect on any positive changes you could make in your current job to minimize your stress and maximize your positive experience. Regardless of your position, there are still opportunities to learn about what you might like to do, as well as about jobs that may not be for you.

Learning Objectives

  • Reflect on your skills and interests in order to apply them to your job and day-to-day life
  • Explore potential problems that may arise in the workplace to affect your mental health and well-being
  • Understand how to address workplace problems and maintain a healthy work environment

  • Continue to Mental Health and Society 3: Mental Illness and the News »