Returning to Work After a Mental Health Break

Returning to work after taking a break for your mental health can be a challenging experience. You might feel intimidated by the gap in your resume, regardless of whether you have taken a six-month or 10-year break. However, it is essential to understand that the emotions you are experiencing are completely normal. Returning to employment is a significant step, and you should be proud of yourself for taking it.

Preparing yourself is crucial for a successful return to work. You can make small changes to make the transition easier for yourself. For instance, you can set an alarm in the morning, prepare a meal for the next day, or get dressed. These simple tasks will help you meet your basic needs and allow you to focus on your new position when the time comes. Additionally, it’s essential to establish your support network. Make a list of people who can support you and help you cope during this transition period. Having a community to reach out to is crucial in any lifestyle change. Lastly, it would help if you identified any potential obstacles. Being aware of potential challenges will help you be ahead of the problem. Share these challenges with your support system to discuss possible solutions.

One of the first things you should consider when returning to work is updating your resume. Writing a resume can be daunting, especially if you are a mature worker with many years of experience. Typically, people use a chronological resume template. However, a functional resume might be more suitable if you have timeline gaps or are looking to enter a new field with no direct experience. Focusing on your transferable skills and related experience will help you feel confident in your application and interview process. WorkBC offers various services to support this process, including personal employment planning. Contact our center to schedule an appointment with an employment advisor who can help you with your employment journey.

The question many ask is, should you bring up the topic of mental illness? Do you disclose this during an interview with an employer or wait until you get the position? Do you share with your new colleagues in the workplace? The truth is, it’s up to you to decide whether to disclose this information. Of course, there might be certain situations where disclosing your mental illness will enhance your employment experience. For example, it would be beneficial to disclose your mental illness if you need workplace modifications or customized employment support to be successful in the role. Being transparent with your potential employer about possible modifications will hopefully lead to positive outcomes and provide you with meaningful and sustainable employment. However, if you feel that disclosing this information could be harmful and unsafe, it’s best to assess whether that company can meet your needs as an employee and if they’re a good fit for you.

Having meaningful and sustainable employment is crucial to most people’s lives and contributes to their well-being. No matter which path life has taken you down, there is always time for a new opportunity. If you would like to learn more about Mental Health and Employment, we recommend checking out the Canadian Mental Health Association’s resource “Steps to Employment,“.

If you need additional help with your job search, contact us to learn more about our free employment services and resources: 250.478.9525 or