If you are concerned about the mental wellbeing of an employee, where can you encourage them to access support?
- Your organisation’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Employees can sometimes feel that an EAP can only be accessed in extreme circumstances, however it is important to seek support early and the EAP can be a great place to do this.
- GP (an excellent first ‘port of call’. If you are not sure how to find a GP that has good mental health literacy, call your GP practice and ask which of their doctors specialise in mental health). Encourage the employee to make a double appointment so that they have time to talk through their concerns.
- See a community psychologist for either yourself (to get advice of how to help and to get support for any impact helping has had on you) or the person concerned (you can get a referral through your GP with Medicare rebates).
If at any point you have concerns about an employee’s immediate safety or risk of suicide you should seek urgent crisis support. Contact your organisation’s Human Resource specialists and where available, your EAP for support and guidance.
In an emergency (in Australia, or your local mental health crisis line internationally):
- Mental Health Emergency Response Line (WA): 1300 555 788
- Suicide Call Back Service (national): 1300 659 467
- Lifeline (national): 13 11 14
As the ‘helper’ it is important that you keep your own life jacket on.
You need to stay conscious about your own mental health and wellbeing. It can be challenging to provide support to an employee who is experiencing distress. It can be draining on your emotional energy and can possibly raise issues about your own mental wellbeing that you’ve been ignoring. Monitor yourself, and if you’re feeling affected then find someone who can give you support.
Ensure that you don’t breach the privacy of the employee you have been supporting. Avoid seeking support from one of their peers instead seek support from someone higher up the chain of command, from your HR team or from your EAP provider.