Mental health can affect us all at different times in our lives and with work being here we spend a lot of our time during the working week, its important that employers and colleagues alike to be able to support those who may be experiencing mental health in the workplace.
Its important that your employees are aware they can come to you should they be struggling or generally just need some time out or someone to talk to and it’s an employer’s job to ensure you have that open door policy to allow employees to do this.
However not everyone feels comfortable when it comes to talking about their feelings or asking for help, so how do we recognise if someone is struggling within the workplace.
Is you employee / colleague struggling with mental health and what are the tell tell signs to look out for.
- Isolating themselves from other workers and being very quiet or not talkative. Now there are some people who generally are just not that talkative but if an employee or colleague who was once very talkative and social becomes distance and starts isolating themselves from how they normally behave it could be a sign they are going through some troubles.
- Having increased absences from work.
- A person may become more aggressive and suffer from increased mood swings.
- Having difficulty concentrating at work and no motivation to complete tasks.
Sometimes it can be easy t spot a change in someone’s behaviour or if someone is perhaps not in a good mood, we can pick these up easily but there are times where people who may be struggling and out on a go mask so to speak.
Which brings me on to what can we do in the workplace to encourage mental health awareness and what support can you provide?
- Encourage employees to talk, ensure employees know you are there for them to discuss any problems they may be facing and ensure they feel welcomed in being able to express any feelings.
- Have regular one to one’s with employees, it’s a great way to build a bound with employees, find out how they are getting on in the workplace and gives them the opportunity to express themselves to you.
- Encouraging mental health support within the workplace such as mental health awareness training or workshops or having dedicated trained individuals or councillors or mental health champions being available, so employees know where to turn if they need that extra support.
- Respect confidentiality. Remember mental health information is confidential and sensitive. Don’t pass on information unnecessarily – not least because this breach of trust could negatively impact someone’s mental health.
- Offer flexibility or a free space employees can go to and take some take away from the workplace to have a breather and gather their thoughts.
- Offer a 24/7 employee assistant program, which is an outside service which employees can access for a range of advice or support.
It is important to remember that an employee who is struggling can feel vulnerable or may be embarrassed to ask for help, so its important to raise as much awareness within the workplace.
Create a supportive and open environment and ensure mental health is not frowned upon and that your door is always open.
If you would like to take a look further about what training or work shops surrounding mental health which may health your organisation, then check out the links below.