How to Recognise Poor Mental Health in the Workplace

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James McCracken
Oct 10, 2022

Mental health is an important issue in any workplace. It's estimated that one in six people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each week. That means that, in any given workplace, there is likely to be at least one person experiencing a mental health problem at any given time.

Mental health problems can have a big impact on individuals and businesses. They can lead to absenteeism, presenteeism (when someone is working but not performing as well as they could be because of their mental health), and staff turnover. They can also impact productivity, creativity and morale. In short, mental health problems can have a significant negative impact on businesses.

However, it's important to remember that mental health problems are common and, with the right support, people can and do recover from mental health problems. There are lots of things that businesses can do to support employees with mental health problems, and to promote good mental health in the workplace more generally.

Here are some tips for recognising mental health problems in the workplace, and for supporting employees who may be experiencing mental health problems:

  • Look out for changes in behaviour or mood. If someone you work with seems unusually withdrawn, anxious, irritable or down, they may be experiencing a mental health problem.
  • Encourage open communication. Creating an environment where people feel able to talk openly about their mental health is important. This could involve having regular one-to-one catch-ups with employees, or encouraging employees to speak to a mental health first aider in the workplace.
  • Offer support. If someone you work with is experiencing a mental health problem, offer them your support. This could involve signposting them to relevant sources of help and information, or simply listening to them and offering them a non-judgemental space to talk about how they're feeling.
  • Promote good mental health in the workplace. There are lots of things businesses can do to promote good mental health in the workplace. This could involve promoting flexible working, providing mental health awareness training for staff, or implementing policies and procedures that support employee wellbeing.

If you're concerned about someone you work with, or about mental health in the workplace more generally, there are lots of organisations that can offer advice and support, including Mind, Time to Change and Business in the Community.