Five Signs of Mental Health Problems to Look For in the Workplace

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Poor mental health is one of the most significant issues in the workplace today. According to the NHS, over 70 million working days are lost each year. The mental health problems include everything from more commonly experienced symptoms such as stress and anxiety right through to more complex mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar and many other disorders.

Many employers are struggling to identify those who may need support in dealing with their mental health issues. As the symptoms can differ widely and many individuals tend to hide their mental health conditions. Here are some common signs that someone may be struggling with their mental health at work.

Emotional swings

Employees struggling with their mental health may seem to have mood changes and become irritable or sensitive to criticism. They might seem to lose their sense of humour.

Changes in behaviour 

You may notice someone constantly skipping lunch breaks, arriving late to work, seeming withdrawn and avoiding social situations. This change could be a sign of mental illness. If your co-worker or employee appears to be isolated from the rest of the team and start delaying or missing work deadlines, you should address this matter.

Physical function

Stressed employees might mention flu-related symptoms such as feeling cold, having back pain or aching muscles all over. There are more factors to physical function: tiredness and fatigue at work, constant headache, eye problems or decreasing vision, stomach pain, or uneasiness in the abdomen could all be signs of someone struggling with their mental health. Mental health issues often cause digestion problems that can reflect on general appearance with a rapid weight loss or gain.

Cognitive signs

An employee can become slower in the working process and not be able to concentrate. One of the main cognitive signs of mental health issues is memory loss. Sufferers may even forget names they know well, or they may have trouble remembering what they did recently. This can cause an unexplained drop in their performance and/or problems making decisions.

Mental health issues in business

Increased absence is one of the most noticeable signs in business that helps realise when someone is going through hard times. If you have noticed any significant changes in your employee’s timesheet or general drop in motivation and productivity levels, you should be prepared to give them support.

If you’re worried someone you know or work with is having mental health issues, make sure to take some action to help – not only for their safety but for yours too. We recommend speaking in confidence to your HR department or manager for advice – be as sensitive and professional as possible.

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