Is it Appropriate to Write About My Mental Health on LinkedIn?
The last few years have been really hard. Mentally and physically, I have felt tested and alone in my thoughts. I have found that writing helps me release my tension and clear my head. I was thinking about journaling my mental health journey as a job seeker on LinkedIn to encourage other professionals who are also struggling with anxiety and depression. Is this a good idea?
— Encouragement from a dark place
Dear Encouragement from a dark place,
I want good things for you. I want you to be the very best version of yourself–personally, professionally, and mentally.
And because I care— I am going to caution you against posting publicly about your mental health issues on social media, especially LinkedIn.
Look, I am all for normalizing conversations about mental health.
— After what we’ve been through the last couple of years, we all need to take care of ourselves. Science shows us that having friends join us in our mental health journeys can hold us accountable and improve our self-love.
But be careful what you share publicly.
What you share for the “greater good” could be used against you.
4 Reasons Why You Should Pause Before You Post
Laws Make It Challenging For Recruiters to Talk to You About Your Content
1. I talked to a mid-level professional who, during the pandemic, quit his job and took a 4-month mental health break. At the start of his sabbatical, he posted about his mental health journey.
When it was time for him to start looking for a job again, he shared with me that he felt like needed to write a disclaimer on his resume in big red letters that said, “I’m healthier than ever” because he felt like he had a stigma.
From the company’s perspective, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they are prohibited from asking questions about physical and mental illnesses during job interviews. So if the candidate shares that they took time off for mental health, the company cannot ask any follow-up questions.
A senior recruiter told me, “it’s challenging for us to get assurance that whatever the reason was for the gap, it won’t keep the job seeker from being successful at our organization.”
You Cannot Control Who Sees The Message
2. I caution people about LinkedIn because you cannot control who sees the message– it’s for public consumption. If you were to write a post on Facebook… or even Instagram… you could choose who you want to see your content. On Facebook, for example, you can join a moderator led small group or online support forum where you can share and seek the advice of peers and “experts by experience.”
Stability is a Soft Skill Companies Value in 2022
3. I talked to a search firm recruiter a few months ago who told me that the #1 & #2 hiring buzzwords for 2022 are “reliability” & “stability.”
She shared with me that before the pandemic, these weren’t even descriptors being used to describe leaders–they were givens. But in this new world we now live in, companies are now valuing these soft skills more than ever.
Mental Health is a Financial Liability for Employers
4. There is a financial liability for employers too. Employees experiencing mental distress use, on average, nearly $3,000 more in health care services per year than their peers. The cost of days lost averages $4,783 per year per employee, & the costs of turnover average $5,733 per year per employee.
(study: National Safety Council and NORC at the University of Chicago)
Does Publicly Posting About Your Mental Health Improve It?
At this time, there is no conclusive research that supports that posting publicly about your mental health struggles correlates with a long-term improved outlook or greater connection to the community. In fact, I’m more concerned that people are self-medicating with social media dopamine “highs” vs. actually getting treatment.
The hashtag #mentalhealth has had 42,414,219 posts on Instagram (a huge spike). And sadly, at the same time, the suicide rate in our country continues to rise.
A Better Alternative
If you are experiencing mental health symptoms, please, please explore therapy, start a conversation with a friend or loved one, talk to your primary care provider or find a therapist.
Ask your HR department if they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAPs) that provides FREE employer-sponsored therapy, counseling, & family services.
You can always consider the free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
You are an amazing human. Don’t suffer alone.