People at work are likely to hide any mental health-related problems they have.
According to the NHS, 20% of people would be embarrassed to tell colleagues they were taking time off work due to their mental health.
Maybe even more concerning is the way they feel they have to conceal these worries from their manager.
According to the Time to Change public health campaign, 67% of people with mental health problems do not tell their employer because they are worried about the reaction.
34% of managers say they would struggle to detect if their colleagues were having a tough time.
It can be very difficult for managers. They want to maintain professionalism, but not want to pry too much into someone’s personal life and offend them.
However, this means that the employee will not be helped.
By not knowing what the problem is, reasonable adjustments cannot be made that can alleviate the employee’s condition.
There’s also the possibility of disciplining someone for poor performance, when they’re actually suffering beneath the surface.
So what can managers do?
They can learn how to spot the tell-tale signs of mental ill health.
A line manager knows their team better than anyone. They can see if someone’s behaviour is unusual or out of character.
This can include a decline in their quality of work, tiredness, or increased sickness absence.
Some symptoms may be more extreme, such as aggressive behaviour, alcohol abuse, or tearfulness.
Once spotted, the next task for the manager is to raise the issue. This will take tact and heightened soft skills to address the behaviour without offending the employee or making them defensive.
It’s tricky balancing act, but such knowledge and skills will make all the difference to the wellbeing of employees and the harmony of the workplace.
Our upcoming Mental Health First Aid course teaches how to spot the signs and discuss mental health.
It will be held over the 27thand 28thof November in London, and we still have some availability if you wish to attend.
There are only three places left however, so please register now if you are interested in joining us.