In recent years it feels like the stigma around mental health has been declining, and it’s far more prevalent on social media. People seem to be more open about their inner struggles, and more people are now going to therapy than they have in decades. But while incredible strides in raising awareness are being made, that could unfortunately come at the cost of future job leads.
A recent study at North Carolina State University found that people who disclose their personal mental health information on social media may be looked at differently by prospective employers. Jenna McChesney, assistant professor of psychology at Meredith College elaborated on their findings. “Specifically, we found that these disclosures can influence the way people view us in professional contexts, [and] it’s important for people to take that into consideration when determining whether to share their mental health experiences online.”
This discovery came after the researchers showed a LinkedIn profile of a job candidate to over 400 employers with hiring experience. Some were shown the profile without any mention of mental health struggles, while others were shown the profile that included the candidate’s experience with anxiety and depression. McChesney states that, “we found that study participants who saw the LinkedIn post about mental health challenges viewed the job candidate as being less emotionally stable and less conscientious.” The employers were even shown an audio interview with the candidate, and the employers who were made aware of the candidate’s inner mental struggles still weren’t swayed.
While this could be discouraging to those who wish to publicly share their mental health stories with others, it’s worth noting that this study largely amounts to LinkedIn usage. There’s no discernible evidence that suggests that employers also check more private forms of social media like Facebook, Instagram, etc.. So if your privacy settings are configured just right, you could still talk openly about your mental health journey without fear of judgement from employers. Just use good discernment about what you post and try not to OVER-share.
If you are struggling with anxiety or depression and need help fighting the battle waging between your ears, click here for a list of resources.