Handling depression in the workplace
With 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, it is important to acknowledge the breadth of this problem and the affect this can have in the working environment, affecting performance and results significantly.
In these early weeks of the year, when the days are still dark and wintry, and vitamin D levels may have sunk without trace, it’s imperative to create a positive culture in the workplace with regard to mental health, looking out for indicators of depression and implementing supportive strategies rather than leaving the individual(s) concerned to struggle alone. The support employees receive early on is key in determining how quickly they can recover.
What to look for:
- Deterioration in the standard of work
- Changes in behaviour or mood
- Changes in interaction with others
- Appearing tired, anxious, withdrawn or irritable
- Increased sickness absence
- Decline in punctuality
- Reduced enthusiasm for the work
- Less engagement with others
- Struggling to make decisions
- Changes in eating habits
Managers may instinctively feel reluctance to get involved as broaching the subject of depression can be difficult, but it is much better to address issues in the early stages to prevent the problem from getting worse. Training managers in how to manage someone experiencing mental ill health can be invaluable, providing them with the confidence to approach staff members who may be struggling and guiding the whole team to be supportive.
Ways to help:
- Take the initiative to arrange a relaxed meeting with the team member affected, in a private space where they won’t be disturbed and assuring confidentiality
- Allow the team member to talk, try not to interrupt, give them as much time as they need
- Be open minded – try to identify cause and offer potential solutions
- Be prepared for the unexpected
- Thank the team member positively for sharing their feelings
- Agree an action plan for helping them
If you need support in dealing with an employee’s mental health issues, contact us on 01756 790124 for further advice on how to handle the situation.
You can find useful information at https://www.mind.org.uk/ including a PDF to download at https://www.mind.org.uk/media/550657/resource4.pdf