What can you do when your employee raises mental health concerns?

posted by 4 years ago in Guide

When it comes to your mental health, choosing who to talk to is one of the most important factors in trusting a person. So, if your employee is suffering from something like anxiety then you should never dismiss them. They have come to you for a reason, not necessarily a solution.

Although it is a sensitive matter you must handle it professionally. However, this doesn’t mean act like a boss this means don’t laugh, mock or even cry! Another thing not to do is panic! If you push the panic button then you could make them feel uneasy which could then prevent them from coming back to you again.

Your colleague going to talk to you means that they are confident enough to share their issues. This also means that they have built up courage just to walk into the room and talk to you. So, what do you need to do?

Level yourself

To create a walkway for yourself and your employee you must talk to them like a friend rather than an employee – this might not be your ‘style’ but for the sake of the employee you must try and build a friendly atmosphere for them to walk into as this might not be the first and only time they come to confide in you.

Take the pressure off

No one is saying treat them to a 3-week holiday, but it might be worth taking some unneeded pressure off of them such as; their workload – do they really need to file them papers as soon as they are done with them? Do they really need to enter the building exactly ten minutes before their shift? Does their lunch need to be exactly 30 minutes? Simple things like allowing them to take 40 minutes for their lunch can pay off along the way as it will reduce their stress levels knowing they have an extra ten minutes to get back to their desk.

Image of woman doing a research indoor

Do your homework

There are so many resources that can help you assist their problems as an unprofessional person (no one is expecting you to be their therapist!) Read books or even use the genius Google to help you understand what they are going through and what you can do to ensure you can help them the next time you meet (for them it might be a regular occurrence).

Don’t offer advice unless it is asked for

A person with mental health issues is a very sensitive person, offering advice that might not be appropriate to their state of mind could destroy them, instead of jumping the gun and telling them to do something just listen. Sometimes that is all they want – a friendly sympathetic ear that occasionally nods and says ‘hmm, yes’ now and then. A lot of stress, depression, and anxiety comes from feeling alone. If you get the feeling that is their issue then perhaps you need to do more as a boss and offer more team days/nights out.

Assist them further (if needs be)

Obviously, you can only support them to the extent you can. As an employer, it is significant to know the extremes of mental health. The scale is balanced with serious issues such as; a bipolar disorder, psychosis, hearing voices, schizophrenia to different types of depression, insomnia, eating excessively or not eating at all (this includes judging what your body looks like) and stress and anxiety – all forms of mental health, but all very different circumstances. For more severe cases it is probably wise to seek professional help (not on their behalf but to help you).

Check in

If all is calm and sorted, don’t just forget it ever happened – to them, they have made a connection so it is key to carry on checking up on them. It is not wise to ever make a joke or act awkwardly around them if certain things pop up – remember, although they are feeling better they are still a fragile person who will more than likely still need supporting in the future.

Fact: Did you know that 1 in every 6 employees suffer with conditions such as; anxiety, depression, and stress every year? If that is not enough for you to take seriously then what is?