Identifying the early signs of mental health problems in the workplace can be an important way to ensure employee wellbeing is maintained.
Being a modern HR department is much more than just dealing with employee complaints as they arise or bringing new staff into the company. It's just as important that you are able to ensure that the professionals within the business are as happy and healthy within their role as possible.
This, of course, relates to their physical health and ensuring that doing their job is as easy and comfortable for them as possible, but it also includes prioritizing mental health and wellbeing too.
Often the signs of mental illness are a lot more subtle than when an employee is suffering with a physical problem. So how do you spot when a person in your workplace may be struggling with mental health issues?
1. Performance drop
This may be the first sign that you notice, because it's something that's often closely monitored in the workplace. A drop in performance from an employee who is normally good at their job could suggest that mental health issues are playing a factor.
2. Change in behavior
A sudden change in an employee's behavior is a good sign that something may be affecting them in their private life. Even if it's not a mental health problem, if it's an issue that consistently happens, it's a good idea that their manager talks to them openly about what may be going on at home.
It may be that they’re turning up for work later than normal, suddenly becoming withdrawn and quiet, or having a shorter fuse than usual, but any significant change in an employee could suggest they are struggling. There are also more subtle signs that people don't often link to depression, anxiety or other mental health problems that can be noticed in the workplace, such as loss of appetite, lack of sleep and concentration issues.
3. Getting help
The growing awareness of mental health problems in the workplace means that they are being openly discussed more often. Of course, you aren't expected to single-handedly solve their issues, but having a conversation with them can be an important first step towards them getting better.
The impact they can have on a person's physical health and work means it's important that managers have a good working relationship with employees. This makes it easier for issues to be flagged up while they are still minor and you can work with them to ensure they get whatever help they need.
Charity Mind is a great place to start if you want to know how you can offer support to people suffering from mental health problems, or if you just want to improve how prepared your company is. There are also a lot of local support groups out there who can give you guidance and let you know about what community help there is.
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