Understanding Employees with Mental Health Issues

woman consulting a psychologist

We all know that we need to take care of ourselves and be mindful of our health, but what about the people who work for us? What if your employees are dealing with mental health issues? If you’re not sure where to start, here are some things you can do to help an employee with a mental health issue.

1. Be patient and understanding

Being patient and understanding is a great place to start. When it comes to mental health issues, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of dealing with the situation, as everyone’s experiences vary from one another. Listen and be supportive of what they have to say.

2. Encourage them not to leave their job

Leaving your job is often the last thing you want to do when suffering from a mental health issue. Unfortunately, employers are still uncertain about what to do when their employees suffer from one of these issues. By encouraging them not to leave their job, they will feel more supported and in control of what happens next.

3. Encourage them to talk or ask for help

If your employees are opening up to you, then that’s a great start. Now is the time for you to encourage them to talk about their problem or ask for help. By encouraging them to talk more about their mental health issue, they will feel more supported and encouraged by you throughout this difficult period in their life.

4. Offer flexible work hours

If your employees need to take the occasional day off due to stress or insomnia then offering flexible work hours (and maybe even days off), is a great way for you to be accommodating and understanding.

5. Give them time off for doctor’s appointments

Doctors’ appointments can often get in the way of work, but don’t hesitate to give them a day off here and there for this purpose. It will not only benefit the employee but you as well. You should actually encourage them more to get the help they need from these mental health and eating disorder treatment facilities.

6. Provide a private space for employees to take time out of the office or workplace if they need it

If an employee is struggling with their mental health during work hours, give them the opportunity to take a break. Not only will it help them cope with the issue more easily but you understand that your employees are human beings who can sometimes need some time out to relax and cool off for a bit.

7. Help them find a therapist or counselor

If they haven’t already, help them seek out a therapist or counselor. Not only will this help their mental health issues but it’s also a great way for you to be involved with the progress of the situation, as well as allow yourself to see if they’re actually getting better from these sessions.

8. Be kind and open-minded when dealing with their struggles or outbursts

Due to the nature of their condition, they may be more sensitive or easily frustrated. Be kind and open-minded when dealing with their struggles or outbursts. If you constantly criticize them, they will become more self-conscious and feel attacked by your words.

9. Provide ongoing supervision of their work

If an employee is struggling with mental health issues during the working day, it may be hard for them to get their work done. By providing ongoing supervision of their work, you are not only helping them complete their tasks but allowing them to feel supported by you through this difficult time in their life.

10. Remind them that they are not alone

Mental health issues affect many people, and you want to do all you can to keep your employees healthy while at work. Make sure your employees know they are not alone in this struggle. It will help them feel more supported and reassured of the company’s interest in their welfare.

11. Provide training on mental health issues

If there is no policy or practice currently implemented within your organization, consider offering (or even better, requiring) some training on mental health — especially if your employees are required to interact with those who have been diagnosed.

12. Have a policy about managing mental health issues in the workplace

If your organization doesn’t already have a policy, you should consider developing one, especially if your employees work directly with clients or customers who may be experiencing these issues, so they know how to manage situations that present themselves.

13. Be an advocate for your employee

If you notice one of your employees struggling with mental health issues, be an advocate for them and encourage them to seek help. If they are not ready to take that step on their own, you can take the initiative by making an appointment or finding a doctor or therapist yourself if it feels appropriate.

Mental health is an important issue that can touch anyone. The good news is, you have the power to help people with mental illness in your workplace through small changes like providing flexible work hours or a private space for employees to take time out of the office when they need it. Be kind and understanding towards this person as well as provide ongoing supervision of their work tasks if necessary. They are probably feeling overwhelmed by their condition so being open-minded about what they’re going through will make everything easier for everyone.

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