How to support your colleagues through mental health problems

Mental Health 1

With 1 in 6 workers in the UK struggling with mental help problems, it’s important to support your colleagues through mental health problems whether you’re a manager or a colleague. Here is some advice for helping support employees who are suffering.


Ensure your company supports staff to be open about mental health

Take proactive steps to ensure a more open and supportive culture to encourage employees to talk about mental health. Managers should be approachable and confident, and conversations on mental health should be normalised in the work place. To achieve this, regular meetings and catch-ups between managers and employees will help gain trust.


Having a conversation with someone about their mental health

Approaching a conversation about a person’s mental health may seem daunting, however all it requires is common sense, empathy, being approachable and good listening. Managers should approach their staff, rather than going straight to HR or Occupational Health as they will know their employee best. If the employee identifies mental health problems then an action plan should be developed to help them. A good way to start a conversation about this is to simply ask an employee how they are feeling.


Supporting someone experiencing mental health problems

This involves small and simple adjustments to someone’s job role. These changes will be individual to the person so it is important employees are listened to, in order to find the best solution. Some suggestions are below.

  • Changes to how people perform their role: flexible hours; change to work space; change to break times; allowing employee leave.
  • Changes to the role itself: reallocation of tasks; redeployment; training and support for new roles.
  • Extra support: Increased supervision; extra training; mentor system; support groups; safe space in workplace; constructive feedback.


How to manage an employees time off sick and their return to work

It is important for an organisation to support people during their absence and reassure the employee they shouldn’t push themselves too much to return to work. Fellow colleagues who are friends with the employee should stay in touch to help ensure a smooth return to work. When they are ready to return to work, a reassuring interview should be taken out and a return to work plan is to be put in place, as well as help to ensure the employee stays well.