It’s mental health awareness week and with mental health being a subject we care thoroughly about here at Prestige Recruitment Services, we have compiled some tips on how to support mental health at work.
A recent survey showed that 20% of people have gone to work while experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings. This statistic is high and shows that workplace mental health support is something that needs to be available for everyone. If you’re worried that someone within your workplace may be experiencing thoughts of suicide, the best thing you can do is explicitly ask them. Talking about suicide does not make it more likely, and so it is vital that you encourage the person you are concerned about to get help. They should contact the Samaritans straight away through their free 24-hour helpline on 116 123.
Other people may not have depression as severe, and there are also other mental health disorders you should be concerned about including Anxiety, Bipolar and Substance Abuse and Addiction. Regardless of the illness, if you feel that someone is struggling with their mental health, it is vital that you reach out and be there for a colleague that needs it.
How Can You Support Mental Health at Work?
1) Informal Checks
Even if you don’t think anyone in your team is suffering with any mental health problems, it’s vital that you check in with colleagues informally. Check regularly to see how they are doing, how they are managing their workload and how they are feeling at work. Stress is a serious cause behind mental health problems, so it’s vital that everyone knows you are there for them should they need you.
2) Performance Management
You should make sure you check in with individuals on a professional level too – consider meetings and confidential supervision sessions. These are great for mental health and staff engagement. Sometimes, drops in performance can illustrate potential mental health problems, and therefore it’s vital to keep an eye on staff performance.
3) Active Listening
If someone is opening up to you about something, you need to give that person your full support and actively listen. Try and keep eye contact with the person, and look interested in what they’re trying to say. Make appropriate acknowledgements, and repeat things back to them to check that you got it right. Don’t probe for more details than they are prepared to give – just listen. If they want advice, you can give them some but don’t give advice if they’re just after someone to listen.
4) Time off
Sometimes staff may need time off because of their mental health. It is important that you look at this the same way that you would look at a physical injury. If someone had broken their legs, they wouldn’t be able to get to work, the same way that someone with a mental health disorder can’t get into the office. Mental health issues should be treated with the same attitude you treat physical illnesses when it comes to work. Make sure you communicate with the individual who needs time off.
5) Coming Back
If an employee is coming back to work after having time off for their health, you should support them with their re-induction. See if they need anything specific for their first day or week back and greet them enthusiastically when they’re officially back in the office. They probably won’t want a fuss but they will appreciate the fact you are happy to have them back.
This advice is mainly guidelines and it’s vital that you remember that every mental health disorder is different, and different people will be affected in different ways. The best way you can support mental health at work is to treat everyone as an individual – see what they want you to do and support them the best way you can.
Happy World Mental Health Awareness Week – don’t be afraid to speak out.
Be sure to check out our other blogs here.
0121 244 5004