people and functional impacts in the workplace

Possible Functional Impacts in the Workplace

By Tasha Broomhall

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.

This is an edited extract from the book Bloom! At Work, written by Tasha Broomhall. The book is available for purchase here.


Lack of focus


Difficulty making decisions

Task overdrive

Avoidance of work

Accidents (not following
safety protocols)

Lack of concentration

Reduced productivity



Not engaging with others

Social withdrawal

Discord with colleagues


Micromanaging other staff

Unusually argumentative

Morale issues

Seeking extra support


No confidence in areas where they previously have been confident

Focused internally

Need to control/ be perfect

Excessively tired

Overly reactive emotionally

Very over-confident

Physical signs such as headaches

Increased substance use

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Image: Alex Kotliarskyi (Unsplash).

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