{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I want to get a therapist but I don’t know how to go about it, primarily because I think employer will find out and I’m not trying to be classified as a “mental health patient” or something. Any word of advice?", "post_id": "607baf09f684a00020dcb0a5", "reply_count": 5, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "59d02db312fe2f0011e02215", "bowl_name": "Depression/Anxiety Talk" }

I want to get a therapist but I don’t know how to go about it, primarily because I think employer will find out and I’m not trying to be classified as a “mental health patient” or something. Any word of advice?

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I’ve never heard of any company doing that over seeing a therapist

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Therapy has been incredible for me this past year. I finally went back to therapy because of several new life events. It has been great to find someone who used to work in consulting. She just gets the stresses of the industry and has helped me navigate changes in my job. I have a therapy block on my calendar every week. I've mentioned in passing with colleagues that I feel comfortable with. Ultimately, taking care of yourself allows you to do your job better, which is all your employer should really care about.

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You’re employer doesn’t need to know if you don’t want, but far more people go to therapy than you think. The stigma is changing quickly. Mental health is like physical health, exercise helps. Therapy is like exercise. If you have a major insurance provider, they probably have a mobile app or online portal that will allow you to search for therapists that are in-network in your area. You can call and email those that you would be interested in having an initial call with. Figure out what you want to work on, for me it was mostly work related stress, self esteem, and communication skills within my personal relationships. It’s not about your employer, but if it was they should want you to go to therapy if you think it can help. You’re a better employee when you start working on yourself than when you dwell in your concerns or let them linger.

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You can just say you have a doctor’s appointment when necessary. But the stigma is definitely decreasing!

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Legally, you're protected. It's a major HIPAA violation for your employer to take that information behind your back, and it's not legal for them to force you to divulge either. For courtesy, I will tell my colleagues if I have a "doctor's appointment" during working hours. My personal experience is that the fear of stigma you described is primarily a personal fear. It's a real fear to be sure, but because of HIPAA protections, you don't have to share that information if you don't trust them. And even if you did, people are slowly becoming more understanding and tolerant of mental health issues, so the worst case scenario is less likely in practice than in your fears. Do it - it's for your own good. Your job will probably roll along with it just fine. If they don't... well... that might turn out for the better in the end.

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