Almost one in three of us has experienced a mental health problem while in employment. That might be more common than you thought. Still, if you’re managing someone with a mental health problem and you’re not sure how to respond.
- You don’t have to be an expert to be in your colleague’s corner; listening and not judging are some of the most significant things you can do.
- Take their lead: show an interest in their condition and how it affects them, but be aware that it can be hard to have conversations about your mental health at work, so be patient.
- In the longer term, having regular catch-ups and supervisions can help both parties recognise stress or other signs to watch out for. You may also need to consider any adjustments you need to make to support them.
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.
It’s good that you noticed this! We all respond to pressure in different ways, and some of us express this more outwardly. But if your colleague seems more stressed than usual, and it’s been going on a while, it could be a sign of a mental health problem.
- Whatever the case, just asking how they’re doing can go a long way.
- Try to take their lead: they might not want to talk about it, and that’s okay - it can be really tricky to start talking about your mental health at work.
- If you have a good relationship and it feels appropriate, you might investigate what changes they (or your employer) could make to manage their stress.
- When asking someone how they’re doing, you might want to do this away from other people