Mental Health issues such as anxiety and depression are commonly unearthed during occupational health practice. According to specialists, more than 70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental illnesses. With one in four having mental health problems at some point in their lives, having the proper support in place will help your employees get back to their peak performance.
Assisting staff members experiencing mental health issues will help you keep hold of valuable employees and send a positive message about your organisation’s values.
We have provided some basic steps that will help you to act in this type of difficult situation.
People with mental health problems sometimes may experience a crisis at work. It can be breaking down in tears, having a panic attack, experiencing their own or a different reality. If that happens, you may also feel a sense of crisis, but it is essential to stay calm and try to help.
Listen without judgement
If you think that someone might be going through difficulties at your workplace, you must consider talking to that person. It is vital to provide an open and non-judgemental space with no distractions and let them lead the discussion at their own pace. There is no need for you to agree with what they are saying, but at that moment, you should show understanding and let them know you respect their feelings.
Sometimes a conversation might not start that quickly. If you noticed that the person is not ready to talk yet, do not pressure them or force them to tell you anything. It might take time until they have enough trust and courage, especially if you are the first person they share this with.
Try not to make any assumptions
Even if you have noticed behaviour changes and some recognisable symptoms, you should not try to diagnose or second guess their feelings in a breakdown moment unless you are a medical expert. You may want to talk and offer support, but situations like this are hazardous. One wrong word can change the whole atmosphere in the room and lead to even worse consequences. Try not to make assumptions about what is wrong or jump in too quickly with your diagnosis or solutions.
Find out the reason
You cannot help someone if you are not 100% sure what the problem is. If you believe that your staff member is facing mental health issues caused by certain substances, we highly recommend a test before you make any conclusions.