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  • lynnschechter

Professionals: Don't ask, don't tell?

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

Yes, it's 2022, and you'd think that even with the new focus on the acceptance of mental health problems that's been popularized through the mainstream media with celebrities talking about their problems on YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook, that the feelings of shame or embarrassment that can accompany a psychiatric diagnosis would evaporate. In reality, there are millions of people who are diagnosed with mental health conditions who feel the need to hide their diagnosis from others for any number of reasons. This adds another level of distress.

There are valid reasons why individuals such as doctors, lawyers, or other professionals, choose not to disclose their diagnosis. They may be concerned about how it may affect their career or reputation. They may be afraid that they could lose their license to work. They might even turn to alcohol or substances to cope with the burden of keeping the secret, which only makes things worse and creates more problems which could jeopardize their careers and families.

The decision to disclose can be a very difficult one. This is an issue that is not often talked about but it is a reality that can lead to feelings of isolation, stress, fear, and self-doubt. Obviously, this does not help when that individual is already feeling the heavy burden of living with a disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia while trying to function at a very high level. That is why having an experienced psychotherapist to provide confidential support and a safe place to express feelings is so critical. Then the pros and cons of disclosure can be analyzed from an objective standpoint, in the context of the real world.

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