First of all, some info that might be important:

  • I'm a Web developer at a company out of ~10 people with huge customers

  • Work there since 21st of September this year (not even 2 weeks)

  • Boss does know about my mental health

  • I can be fired (with no reason named) within the next 6 months

Before I got the job, I was in an internship with the company I work for now. I told them about my illness (mental) in the interview for the internship. I did so, because I felt it would be much easier for me that way. I had the internship for around 10 weeks with a little break for my final exams. In the last week I got told they want me to start my work as a Web developer there after I finished my finals. My Boss said in that conversation:

We had a guy some years ago, that needed to take a break for weeks almost 4 times a year. So I don't want to be rude, but I want to ask you, if maybe this would be the same for you?

At that time I felt like I’m stable and life finally turns out to be great! So my answer on this was following:

To be honest, I was in a clinic once for like 4 weeks. But that was 3 years ago and I don't think I will need something like that again.

This was back then. Now, around 2 months later, I do feel REALY unstable and sensitive what goes down to some bigger problems. My therapist told me to go to a clinic, in her opinion it was important and needed.

Now my question:

Should I go to a clinic and take a break from work? If so, how can I handle that? How to bring this topic up?

I’m scared of being fired. Or misunderstood since what i said in the interview. I don't want them to think bad - or get rid of me.

  • 14
    Regardless of the workplace solution here, I just want to say please make sure you look after your own best interests here (whether that's going to the clinic or continuing to work).
    – user81330
    Sep 26, 2018 at 9:58
  • 2
    Yes, you've already done the best thing in speaking to your therapist. Even if you were lucky enough to get an answer here from a trained therapist, they're not your therapist and don't know what's best for you. I would recommend you are honest with your employer but explain that you need this time in order to be well and continue to be a productive team member. If they care about employing you long term, they will want what's best for you too - having you burn out is worse than losing you to a clinic for a few weeks.
    – delinear
    Sep 26, 2018 at 10:39
  • 4
    You can work if you live, but you cannot work if you don't live. Your health is priority. If your company does not respect your health than don't worry about respecting your company. Sep 26, 2018 at 14:24
  • 2
    Go get yourself sorted, if the company values you, this will be OK; It seems to come across that you care a great deal about your work and perhaps using it as an excuse to put off going to seek further medical help? You won't really know what kind of state your mental health is in until you seek further professional help. Do you have family friends around you who know about your condition? Go talk to them, arrange fall backs and safety nets so you don't have to worry.
    – Phill
    Sep 26, 2018 at 14:27
  • 4
    I didn't even read the question. The answer to the title question is yes.
    – rath
    Sep 26, 2018 at 15:32

4 Answers 4


Firstly (and most importantly) your health, both physical and mental should absolutely be your priority. I speak as someone who has made the mistake of not prioritising my health on more than one occasion and I can tell you it has invariably left me worse off in the long run.

Yes it is unfortunate that this flare up has occurred so soon into a new job, and yes it is doubly so because you (in good faith) had taken steps to reassure your boss that this wouldn't be happening. I can't say how they'll take it, perhaps they will be understanding or not.

But none of those things even budge the needle on the importance meter compared to your health, if your therapist thinks a clinical stay is "important and needed" I think you should take that seriously.

how can I handle that? How to bring this topic up?

I would suggest handling it the way you have handled the general topic so far - be honest with your boss. Arrange to have a 1-1 discussion with him and explain that although you genuinely didn't expect your condition to get to this point again unfortunately it has and your therapist is recommending the clinic step (you don't have to go into too much detail about what you are experiencing but I feel that mentioning that this action is one a healthcare professional familiar with your situation has expressly recommended is important). If you have some idea of how long a stay this would likely entail then you can pass that on as well - but I'd advise against hedging it to be lower, that's not fair on the company and more importantly isn't fair on you as you can't rush a recovery and the important thing is that you get well.

If you think that the issues aren't related to the job (and it doesn't sound like they are) and you're hoping to return then I'd express this desire to return when able and say that although there aren't any hard and fast rules on how this works that you don't believe that this will be a regular occurance and that taking the time to recover properly now will only increase your chances of being a productive employee for the company long term.

At the end of the day you can't force them to keep you on, but there are other jobs and you only get one you.

I really hope you feel better soon.


Should I put my mental health over my new job?

IMO, you should always put your health (both mental and physical) over your job.

Should I go to a clinic and take a break from work?

Your therapist said you should go to a clinic. If you don't want to do this right now, ask your therapist if you can get a week off instead to rest. If you still feel unstable, I think you should go to the clinic

If so, how can I handle that? How to bring this topic up?

Try to estimate with your therapist when you're going back to work and tell your manager you're on sick leave and until when. Don't tell him/her what you're having, it's not his/her business.

You already did 10 weeks of internships plus 1 week of work, so roughly 3 months. They know you and I don't think they will change their minds if you are on sick leave.

Your health comes first, your job later. You can find another job (especially in web development), but can't find another health.

If they fire you only because of this, then it is certainly a toxic environment: a manager that, based on 10 weeks, hires you but because you are sick fires you doesn't deserve you.

  • I see the problem in loosing my job. That would totally melt down my mental health. And i don't have a therapist anymore. She was not able to have me after i was done with my finals. Cuz she did work for the company i was in.
    – Marie S
    Sep 26, 2018 at 10:36
  • 6
    Then I advise you to find another therapist. Ask your doctor if he/she knows a good one. I know it would be hard to loose your job and I don't wan't to minimize it. I just think loosing your health will be way worse (and will potentialy make you loose your job too).
    – LP154
    Sep 26, 2018 at 11:33
  • @MarieS Isn't that kind of illegal? Kinda like firing a pregnant woman? Sep 26, 2018 at 14:33

As others already answered, be honest with your employer and tell them that you need to stay at a medical institution for a while.

Since you're still in probation period, they have the chance to fire you, BUT

  • You did a 10 weeks internship, where you already had the chance to prove your worth to the company.
  • You were honest from the beginning and they hired you anyways. So they want you to work for them.

You might do a little cost-benefit-calculation here and maybe talk to your employer with those arguments:

  • Your medical condition has unfortunately worsened over the last months. It's not your fault and you couldn't do anything against it.
  • Taking a few weeks off and going to a clinic may restore you to a healthier state. You would probably be more productive after your stay at the clinic.
  • Delaying the clinic stay will likely deteriorate your condition even further. You'll probably become less and less productive, maybe even unable to work at all.
  • The longer you delay the recovery, the longer the recovery usually takes (especially mental health issues).

While it's an unfortunate timing for you, you're not the only employee who takes a few weeks of (planned) medical leave. There are always people in need of surgeries that are planned beforehand. Give your employer the information they need to plan for any project you're working on, but don't ask them if you could pretty please take some time off. If this stay at the clinic is nessecary (as indicated by your therapist), then tell your imployer that it's nessecary.


Like the other answers, health should come first; but unlike the other answers I would suggest that you propose that you take unpaid leave if you can afford it.

It shows that you understand the position you're putting your boss in; and you're taking responsibility for it. Following that, I would highlight the importance of getting better; and making this trip your last trip. Do whatever it takes.

Prove to yourself, and your boss that you're not like the last person; that you don't need weeks off in clinics at a time.

Good luck!

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