Should I disclose my mental health issues to a prospective (and former) employer?
October 24, 2012 8:28 AM Subscribe
Last year I quit my job due to depression and anxiety. I now have an interview with my former employer for the same job. Should I disclose my mental health issues during the interview as an explanation for my progressively lazy work attitude and subsequent quitting?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I generally would not contemplate disclosing this sort of information to a prospective employer, however I feel that without an explanation for my workplace laziness last year, I have no chance of getting this job. (If you're wondering why I got an interview, this is a government agency that has to determine which applicants to interview based solely on selection criteria, which I more than meet since I previously worked in the role for over a year.)
I was never pulled up for my lazy workplace behaviour since I always met my deadlines. However, I took a lot of sick days, and spent a lot of time chatting with colleagues instead of doing my work. This behaviour became worse as my anxiety (mostly about work) increased and definitely wouldn't have gone unnoticed. I ended up quitting because I felt so overwhelmed and scared of the job.
Since then, I have received (and am continuing to receive) treatment for my mental health issues and I very much want to resume working in this role. I have not worked since I was previously in the position and I'm not sure how I can explain the gap in my resume if I don't mention my medical issues. I can't, nor do I really want to lie, particularly as some of my former colleagues know me outside of work (though they are unaware of the depression and anxiety).
So, my questions are:
1) Should I disclose my mental health issues to my former employer at my interview, and explain that I have addressed the problem, and;
2) If not, how should I explain the year-long gap in my resume, keeping in mind I don't want to lie?
Thanks so much for your help!