The Life & Health Report - A Monthly Factual Overview

Volume 10, Issue 1

Disclosure: To Tell or Not to Tell

Disclosure, or whom you choose to tell about a health problem or diagnosis, is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong way to handle it. Some people experience a sense of relief after sharing their diagnosis with a friend or family member because they can be honest and open about symptoms or challenges they are experiencing. Other people may need time to process the news themselves before sharing it with others. They may be afraid of how others will react to the news. Keep in mind that just as it will take you some time to adjust to the diagnosis, it may take the others some time as well.

Consider the following disclosure tips.

Attitude is everything: Your attitude when you disclose will impact how the other person perceives your situation. If you disclose when you are crying, upset or particularly vulnerable, the conversation will not be the same as if you disclose when you are calm and composed.

It's all about timing: Give yourself some time to adjust to the news and get a handle on your own feelings. When you feel ready, talk to someone you trust to be understanding and compassionate.

In the workplace, disclosure can be more complicated: Seek professional advice before disclosing any information. Empower yourself by learning about your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( and/or the Job Accommodation Network ( for all kinds of helpful information and support.

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