The experience of navigating mental health difficulties in the workplace, with a focus on disclosure
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AbstractMental health difficulties are a prevalent source of distress and disability in the UK. To gain support to maintain employment, disclosure of mental health difficulties is often required. Research indicates that fears of discrimination can inhibit disclosure, but that when disclosure does occur this can be a positive experience. Nevertheless, the literature review presents a gap in current understanding of experiencing, navigating, and disclosing mental health difficulties in the workplace. The aim of this research is to present a detailed and illustrative narrative of employees’ experiences of mental health difficulties and how they have navigated these experiences, often through disclosure, at work. Seven one-to-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with employees from different professions. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to facilitate an in-depth exploration of participants’ experiences and provide insight into how participants made sense of their mental health difficulties and the revelation of their distress. This produced four superordinate themes and 12 subordinate themes. The superordinate theme of Power consisted of three subthemes: Being Heard, Stigma and Financial Culture. Convergence of Work and Home Life comprised of an Accumulation of Adverse Life Events, Spillover and Adapting to the Restrictions during the Pandemic. The third superordinate theme of Connection to Others related to Nurturing Colleagues, Feeling Valued and Relationship to Management. The Recovery Journey pertained to subthemes of Accessing Mental Health Care, Barriers to Coping and Resilience. The insights gathered by this study are reviewed in comparison with existing literature to facilitate better understanding of employees with mental health difficulties’ unique and specific needs. Implications for counselling psychology and occupational mental health are discussed, in order that professionals can offer better-tailored forms of psychological support for employees experiencing mental health difficulties. Avenues for further research are also explored.
CitationMorris, S. (2023) The experience of navigating mental health difficulties in the workplace, with a focus on disclosure. University of Wolverhampton. http://hdl.handle.net/2436/625187
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.
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