Nervous breakdown at work can get you fired BUT you can and should protect yourself. Unfortunately when economy gets tough employees are at a higher risk to lose their jobs. Many people face demands to do more and to work longer without additional pay or adequate training.

As a result, employees often develop severe anxiety, depression and live in constant fear of being let go. Their performance at work suffers and there may be breakdown in family relationships.

If you feel that the above applies to you, remember three things:

a) you can get fired for poor performance if your employer is not aware you are suffering from mental health issues;

b) if you have a mental breakdown at work you may be fired for “bad behavior” if your employer is not aware you are suffering from mental health issues;

c) you can and should must protect yourself.

  1. Anxiety and depression are real illnesses. They can be diagnosed and must be treated. Your employer should be aware of this.
  2. Seek medical help immediately once you are overwhelmed by either anxiety or depression. Make an appointment with your family doctor.
  3. Your family doctor can make an initial diagnosis and prescribe treatment. Medication is not the only option. Your family doctor may refer you to a counselling specialist.
  4. If you have group benefits check if you entitled to coverage for psychological treatment. There are also OHIP covered programs at many Ontario hospitals or / and treatment centers.
  5. Please make sure to follow prescribed treatment. Do not underestimate severe damaging effects of untreated anxiety disorders or/ and depression.
  6. You may be entitled to medical leave of absence due to anxiety or/ and depression.
  7. If you have access to disability benefits via your group insurance, ask your doctor if you should apply for those.
  8. If you suffer a mental breakdown at work or/ and begin self medicate with drugs / alcohol, you are likely to be terminated for cause. This will severely hinder your future job search and will create problems with receiving employment insurance (EI).
  9. It is much easier to deal with transition to a medical leave due to anxiety / depression then to litigate termination for cause. Do not be ashamed to seek medical help – look after yourself.
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