It is essential when developing a culture of positive mental health and wellbeing, to work with leaders to develop their skills and confidence to recognise and appropriately respond to mental health issues in the workplace. Often leaders will state that they know nothing about mental illness, or that they’ve never known anyone with a mental illness. As a result their perceptions are usually based on stereotypical community and media representations.
The focus shouldn’t be trying to pseudodiagnose someone, but rather on trying to develop an understanding of the functional impacts that an individual experiences, and investigating appropriate supports.
Important To Note
The following list is not exhaustive and equally, for some individuals, there will be no functional impacts in the workplace. It is also important to note that the impacts shown below may be present yet have nothing to do with mental health issues. They may be related to other work or life circumstances.
If you notice any of these possible indicators and you are concerned about an employee, be careful not to assume that they are experiencing a mental health issue. Instead have a conversation with the employee about what you have observed.
Possible Functional Impacts in the Workplace
These indicators in themselves do not mean that an employee is experiencing mental health issues. It is when the symptoms are pervasive, long lasting and are affecting the employee’s functioning that it may have more impact.
If signs are observed and are of concern these can be appropriately addressed with the employee, and assistance may be needed to prevent the issue developing further. Seek support from your Human Resource or Safety team, as well as from an employee counselling service your organisation contracts.
Lack of focus
Difficulty making decisions
Avoidance of work
Accidents (not following
Lack of concentration
Not engaging with others
Discord with colleagues
Micromanaging other staff
Seeking extra support
No confidence in areas where they previously have been confident
Need to control/ be perfect
Overly reactive emotionally
Physical signs such as headaches
Increased substance use
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Image: Alex Kotliarskyi (Unsplash).