“n recent years, awareness of mental health in the workplace has ramped up – and rightly so. An employee’s job can often be a source of mental illness or, if not the source, then an aggravator of it. So it’s great that initiatives such as RUOK Day are becoming widespread. This, however, has given rise to the type of employee willing to take advantage of the heightened sensitivity: the employee who fakes a disorder for their personal benefit.
There a number of ways this becomes manifest. There’s the employee who goes on stress leave the moment he’s placed on a performance management plan. There’s the employee who makes allegations of bullying or harassment just because a manager provided some harsh feedback. There’s the employee who, on account of her questionable anxiety, demands she be given more breaks and a lighter workload.
Every inauthentic assertion detracts from the individuals who genuinely endure those mental illnesses but are unfairly confronted by misplaced cynicism. “
That last quote is important, and it’s something those of us who are trying to fight for mental health awareness have to be very thoughtful of. Much like false rape, or false child abuse allegations, false mental health claims that are discovered create a cynicism about real victims. Anyone who advocates for mental health, abuse, or rape survivors cannot tolerate anyone who is making false claims, because they do nothing but damage the credibility of the whole movement.
And, frankly, supporters who do not seem to mind the occasional false accusation, are no supporter at all.