How to support the mental health of neurodivergent employees

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Neurodivergent individuals are more likely to experience a mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression.

Lou Campbell explains how organisations can help improve their wellbeing and encourage strategies to regulate mental health.

Neurodiversity is increasingly central to discussions about inclusion and employee support. However, amid the rush to understand neurodivergence, important details are being missed that will impact individuals, their mental health and their ability to engage at work.

In my work as a mental health professional and neurodiversity specialist, I see the intersectionality of neurodivergence and mental health issues on a daily basis, and it is a topic that is frequently underestimated and misunderstood. While autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia and others are not mental health issues, they are significant risk factor for mental health issues, particularly burnout, anxiety disorders, depressive disorder and insomnia.

Mental health issues in neurodivergent employees often begin in the workplace itself, as this is usually set up for neurotypical employees. Everything from the lighting, the sounds, office layout, management style, communication styles and even the interview process can detrimentally impact people with neurodivergence. In a nutshell, simply having to constantly adapt to the norms of a neurotypical workplace puts a massive mental load on neurodivergent staff that so frequently leads to health and wellbeing issues.

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