It might feel awkward to ask a colleague about time off work. You might be worried it will be embarrassing for them, or that you’re pushing them into revealing something personal, but it’s likely your colleague will be grateful that it’s acknowledged, as pretending nothing has happened might make them feel more isolated.


  • Just asking how they are can really help.
  • Be aware that they might not want to talk about it - it can be hard to open up about mental health at work, so make sure to respect that.
  • As an alternative, small, kind gestures - like making a cup of tea - can help them feel like part of the team again.
“Returning to work after two months off was very hard. I was really worried about what colleagues would think of me, and what they would say, and whether I would relapse. I didn’t. I found lots of people who cared how I was, tried to help, and several who confessed their own mental health stories.”