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4 Ways to Improve Employee Mental Health: A Guide for Managers

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Emma Taylor
4 Ways to Improve Employee Mental Health: A Guide for Managers

‍Many of us know someone who has been affected by a mental illness, be it their friend, family member, or coworker. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental illness continues to remain in our society. As a result, many people hide the fact that they're struggling with these issues and feel socially isolated as a result. 

 

Many employees are afraid to admit that they're struggling with an issue because they're worried about what that will mean for their job security and future career prospects. In other words, it's not easy being a manager. 

 

So how do you effectively help your team members when they’re struggling? This article explores some of the most effective ways a manager can help an employee who is struggling with mental health problems at work. 

 

It also explains why this is such an important thing to do and how you can implement these strategies in your organisation to improve employee mental and emotional wellbeing.

 

Help people recognise when they’re feeling unwell

When someone is struggling with a mental health issue, it’s normal to feel angry or frustrated that they’re unable to manage their condition. However, it’s important to avoid pointing out people’s shortcomings as a way of ‘fixing’ them. 

 

Instead, it’s important to recognize when others are struggling and to be supportive and respectful of that. It’s also helpful to provide advice and encouragement when you see someone exhibiting the signs of a mental illness at work. Be mindful of how your words and actions can affect the person struggling. 

 

For example, it may be helpful to suggest that the person seeks additional support from a professional in the workplace (e.g., a therapist, counsellor, or psychologist).

 

Be mindful of body language at work

Body language, especially the types of body language that are associated with anxiety, are incredibly important when it comes to helping people who are struggling at work. Specifically, you should be mindful of the types of body language that indicate anxiety (i.e., crossing or uncrossing the arms, leaning forward or back, or touching your face or neck). 

 

If you notice these types of signs in your employees, you should refrain from engaging in conversations about work, avoid overly positive comments about the employee’s performance, and refrain from making sweeping comments about the overall work environment. 

 

It may also be helpful to ask the person if there’s anything else you can do to help them.

 

Make a regular timely connection with employees

When someone is struggling, it can be easy to feel hesitant to connect with them directly. However, this can actually make it more likely that the person will suffer in silence and become even more isolated. Ideally, you should attempt to connect with all of your team members on a regular basis. 

 

Unfortunately, this may not always be the case because of the time demands that come with managing a team of people. However, you can still establish a regular pattern of phone calls, meetings, and/or in-person connections to help people who are struggling. For example, you could have a team meeting each week where the whole team takes a few minutes to call or text each other.

 

Conduct employee training and awareness events

Mental health issues are often associated with feelings of isolation, so it can be helpful to conduct regular training on mental health issues with your team members. You can also regularly invite mental health experts or organisation leaders from other departments to conduct workshop sessions on mental health issues. 

 

You can also use these events to connect with your team members and to provide some support for those who are struggling. Regular training sessions on mental health issues can act as a regular source of support for your team members. You can also use these events to help team members connect with one another in a more informal way. 

 

For example, you can have team members stand up and briefly introduce themselves without talking about work topics. When it comes to training your employees, you can conduct courses that are industry related. 

 

Plan an away day for employees when they need it most

Mental illness is often associated with feeling isolated. When people are feeling isolated, they’re also more likely to experience depression, which means that you should make sure your team members get the time and space they need when they’re feeling isolated. 

 

To do this, you should consider setting up regular team retreats where employees can connect with one another in a more informal way. Regularly scheduled team retreats where your employees can connect with one another can help people who are feeling isolated, or even just those who typically work remotely

 

You can also use these types of retreats to provide support for people who are struggling with mental illness especially during times when they feel isolated. For example, you could create a retreat where employees can meet with one another one-on-one and receive some mental health support from an organisation leader.

 

Conclusion

Mental health issues are unfortunately much too prevalent in our society. Many people are afraid to talk about the issue for fear that they’ll be seen as weak or incompetent. 

 

Furthermore, many employers don’t know how to respond to those who are struggling. Luckily, there are a number of effective ways a manager can help an employee who is struggling with mental health problems at work. 

 

These include being mindful of body language and avoiding pointing out people’s shortcomings as a way of ‘fixing’ them, making regular connections with team members, conducting regular training sessions on mental health issues, and planning an away day for employees when they need it most.

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