What Do Managers Need to Know About Mental Health?

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It is the responsibility of managers and business owners to do all they can to support their employees, particularly in terms of their mental health. Poor mental health can have a detrimental impact on how people feel and act. Moreover, when it comes to business, it can have a significant impact on productivity. It therefore makes sense for managers to promote a work environment that fosters positivity and mental wellbeing.

How to Support Staff

There is still a reluctance by some people to talk openly about their mental health issues. While no one minds telling their employer that they are struggling with a physical condition such as a migraine or a backache, the same tends not to be true of mental health symptoms such as feelings of anxiety or panic attacks. It is important then that managers promote an environment where mental health is discussed openly and where employees are encouraged to talk about their feelings.

Managers that assure staff that their mental health is important are easier to approach and communicate with. Dealing with mental health issues as early as possible will prevent these from spiraling out of control. But how can you do this?

Spotting the Signs

Good managers must be able to spot the signs of mental health problems in their employees. They need to remember that even with an open-door policy in place, some staff members may not want to bring the subject up. Some people are just not that way inclined; it may be that they have been brought up to keep their feelings suppressed or were told that mental health is something to be ashamed of.

Mental health management companies such as Horizon Health work with managers, helping them to spot the symptoms in their staff. They say that changes in behavior is one of the first signs. Managers should also be on the lookout for a drop in productivity levels as well as changes to focus and motivation. Those suffering mental health issues might also exhibit other symptoms, such as appearing withdrawn or tired. If you notice any of these signs, you should also look out for behavioral changes such as a loss of appetite, increased smoking, or the smell of alcohol.

How to Address Your Concerns

If you believe a staff member is struggling with mental health issues and they seem reluctant to speak to you or colleagues, it is important to tackle the situation as sensitively as possible. Ask the employee to have a chat in your office, or if you think it would be better then choose a neutral location like a nearby café or restaurant. Remember, it can be hard for some people to open up, so ask simple questions that will encourage them to open.

Don’t try to guess what the problem is or finish your employee’s sentences. Be honest with them about why you have your concerns and encourage them to talk about any difficulties they are facing at work.

You will need to assure the individual that you will support them through this, however that might be. Work together to come up with a plan on how to proceed. It may be that you feel your employee could benefit from a more flexible working pattern, or perhaps some time off may be in order. Encourage them to seek professional help.

To conclude, managers have a duty to ensure that staff members feel supported within the workplace. When it comes to mental health, it is the managers responsibility to have procedures in place to address issues. Tackling mental health problems as and when they arise can prevent problems from exacerbating, and it can promote a healthier happier work environment.

For more help creating a positive work environment to support and motivate your employees, please see the resource below.


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