Should I fill my company’s Voluntary Self-identification of disability if I have depression?

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This article will discuss if and how you should fill your company’s voluntary self-identification of disability. The article will show why this form may be important to the company, and yourself, and what are the proper ways your company can use the information you choose to disclose.

Should I fill my company’s voluntary self-identification of disability if I have depression?

It is a personal decision to disclose or not any disability, especially depression, at your work. Some people may feel it is important for their employers to know what they are going through, so they can all think together about the best way to accommodate some of the needs brought on by depression.

Depression usually will have a huge impact on your life, it can make you feel less energetic, and have difficulty focusing. It can also make it hard for you to get to work in time, since some days even the simplest things such as getting out of bed may feel impossible. It may also cause you to isolate yourself from your co-workers.

In thinking about all of this, it is most likely to say that depression will affect your work, and whether you fill out the form or not, you should think of what are the best ways, for you, to cope with depression in the workplace.

Other people may not want to fill the voluntary self-identification of disability form, because they feel that there is still a lot of stigma around depression, and making it known to their employer can harm their career.

They may fear they will lose promotions, or future opportunities at work, or even be seen as a person that is unable to fulfill their whole job.

But since deciding to fill the form or not is up to you, there are a few things you need to consider before filing the voluntary self-identification of disability form. You should know in what ways this may help you and your work environment, and how your company can use this information you have disclosed.

What does the voluntary self-identification of disability form help me with? 

The first thing you should know is that you can fill out the form at any time. You can do it even before you are hired by the company, and when you are working there, at any moment you feel comfortable with it, you can do it.

If you are going through interviews, know that employers can only ask about disabilities if they ask about it to all candidates. And when you are already working at the company, your boss will only be allowed to ask you about any form of disability, including depression, if it affects the manner you do your job.

For example, they may ask you if you are going through something if they realize depression is causing you to get to work late. 

You should also know that the main goal of having the self-identification of a disability form, and why people should fill it, is related to a positive thing. By doing so, people may help the company to understand the individual needs of each employee, and create a more inclusive and caring environment that will accommodate people’s multiple needs. 

And if you feel your company is an inclusive one, sharing that information about how depression has been impacting you can help you get a better handle on your job, and maybe feel more comfortable in your workplace. 

What is important to take into consideration as well is that if you decide to fill the form, in the same way as you decide to tell others about your condition, it is a step you are taking towards assuming your condition and naming it. 

This may be an important part of the treatment, recognizing something is going on with you. So to some people, filling out the form may be symbolic in a way to recognize the condition they are in.

How can my company use the information I put on the voluntary self-identification of disability form?

If you have decided to fill out the voluntary self-identification of disability form, you should know that your company should keep this information private. They are only allowed to disclose your condition on a need-to-know basis. 

Even your direct boss may not know about your condition. The company will only disclose as much as they need to your boss, so they can make the proper accommodations to suit your disability. 

This policy is used as a way to try and guarantee that you won’t be judged based on your disability. But rather that you will be thought of as a whole individual, not only on your capability to produce for the company. 

Is depression a disability? 

Depression may be considered a disability. It usually depends on how the person has experienced it, and how it is affecting their lives. Normally, clinical depression, also known as major depression, is considered a disability. 

Some companies, depending on the job that will be done, consider even a previous episode of depression a disability.

But unless it impacts how you do your job, even above all the accommodations, you will most likely be able to maintain your job in the company you are in, even though you are going through depression.

The social stigma of depression

Some people may find it extremely hard to come forward about depression in their workplace. And that is understandable. People with depression have been constantly judged on how they behave. Some people may relate depression to laziness, others may think it is a choice.

To some people, and some religions, depression can be related to sin, and others still have that view on mental health being insanity. People with mental illness should be committed to a hospital, and are unable to do things as other people would do. 

So when you come forward about depression at your work or choose to fill the voluntary self-identification of disability form, you may fear you will have to face all of these judging views. 

And saying they don’t exist would be denying the reality, but it is important to know that as time has passed, and people are becoming more informed about mental illness, especially depression, this stigma is most likely to go down. 

Hopefully, with that, people will feel more comfortable coming forward about being depressed, and more and more companies will have the proper structure to help those employees during this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Should I fill my company’s voluntary self-identification of disability if I have depression? 

Why is it important to self-identify with your disability? 

Although it may be hard to do so, there are some reasons why it may be important for you to self-identify with your disability. And even if you decide to not do so in your workplace, naming the condition you have, be it depression, or any other form of disability, is a way for you to recognize what is going on with you.

It may be an important step in your looking for treatment. After all, it is only once you have realized what you have, and accepted it, that you may be able to care for it appropriately.

It also allows you to present to others what you have and what your needs are because of that. Be it at work, or in any other type of relationship, it is only when you let people know what your needs are, that they can help and support you.

Is anxiety a disability? 

According to the self-identification of disability form, anxiety is considered a disability. And not only is generalized anxiety considered a disability. There are other forms of anxiety disorders that are included as a disability.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and panic attacks are considered disabilities. The first one is a stressful reaction to being apart or witnessing a traumatic event. 

OCD is having a pattern of repetitive behaviors that aim to reduce the person’s anxiety, it can come in the form of thoughts or impulses.

Panic disorder is characterized by intense attacks of anxiety in which the person experiences its symptoms intensely for about 10 minutes. In panic disorder, the person usually doesn’t know what has caused the panic attack.

Why is it so hard to prove you are disabled when depressed? 

It can be extremely hard to prove you have depression when you are looking to receive government support because of a disability. This can happen because, like with other mental illnesses, it can be hard to measure the extent of the condition.

Since it is only possible to talk about your symptoms, the severity of it can be misinterpreted by the person you are talking to. And let’s keep in mind that you will only be able to have access to support if it is understood that you have major depression. 

This leaves an open possibility for misunderstanding, and wrongly accessed conditions. Which can make it harder for people to receive the care and support they need.

What are the disabilities that are part of the voluntary self-identification of disability form? 

Each company has its voluntary self-identification of disability form. But they all put the following conditions as disabilities: 

  • Autism
  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus
  • Being blind or visually impaired
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deaf or difficulty hearing
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease
  • Intellectual disability
  • Missing limbs completely or partially
  • Nervous system conditions such as migraine or multiple sclerosis
  • Psychiatric conditions such as PTSD, bipolar disorder

Is depression a permanent condition?

Yes, depression is a permanent condition. There is no cure to it. If you go through a depressive episode, you may go into remission, which usually means that you will be able to go back to experience joy, and all the positive emotions depression took away.

You may begin to regain interest in things and feel your life is getting back on track. But since depression has a genetic aspect to it, it is impossible to predict if you will go through it again. So when you feel better, keep in mind to care for your mental health, as a way to prevent, the best way possible, a future relapse.

Conclusion 

This article centered around the voluntary self-identification of disability form, and if people should fill it out when they are depressed. The article explained what can be the benefits of filling out the form, and how your company may use the information in it. 

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

References

https://news.clearancejobs.com/2016/01/13/why-you-should-self-identify-if-you-have-a-disability/amp/

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