Is your colleague struggling with their mental health 202010 PIW West Works 06082
May 20, 2021

is your colleague struggling with their mental health?

The aim to make mental health first aid compulsory in every workplace is one step closer to becoming law. This is following the introduction of a parliamentary bill, with the purpose to ensure that mental health first aid facilities are a legal requirement in all workplaces. This will help educate employers and colleagues to identify the signs of a decline in mental health, as well as how to help overcome this.

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By Emily Roach, Paws in Work guest blogger.

Work can add stress to people’s lives for a variety of reasons: long hours, lengthy commutes, conflict between employees and other problems that may occur throughout the working day. Identifying a colleague or employee who might be struggling with poor mental health can potentially save their life. To the naked eye, it’s not always obvious, but there are plenty of signs to help you spot someone who may be having some mental health difficulties. Here’s a few things to look out for and how to act accordingly.

what are some of the early warning signs to look out for.

There’s a variety of symptoms that everyone presents in different ways, but here are a few more common signs that may indicate someone is not feeling as mentally healthy as they may have done in the past, such as: irritability, difficulty focusing, emotional outbursts, avoiding social interaction, lack of energy and motivation, feeling overwhelmed and generally feeling low. If you are aware of an employee or colleague who is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it would be good to see if they may talk to you, you can ask them how they are feeling lately to start a conversation and then if they open up to you then you can offer your support to see what appropriate help is out there for them.

know your team.

Getting to know your colleagues / employees on a deeper level will aid you in building a sense of trust. A great way of bonding is by encouraging your team to speak openly about their personal experiences, what they feel is a sign of someone who may be finding their mental health difficult to manage at the moment, and ways to support each other. It can take a lot for someone to come forward and admit that they’ve been going through a rough time, therefore, building a support network within the workplace might inspire someone to confide in you.

should i intervene.

It’s important to carefully ascertain if it’s necessary to get involved if you can see someone is struggling with their mental health. In some cases, someone might just want you to listen so they can process their feelings and then take no further action. The power of talking should not be underestimated. Another effective way of helping is to suggest that your team enrol in a Mental Health First Aid England course. Not only will this help those who need it, but it will also equip the whole team with knowledge on how to handle different scenarios and is a skill that can be used in everyday life, not just the workplace.

Hopefully, this could lead to the prevention of events escalating for people who need support. We offer MHFA England accredited courses which will give you the information and tools you need in aiding your peer’s mental health and of course, how to look after your own.

what can i do to help.

Firstly, you must not assume what someone is going through, or try to fix them with your own thoughts and experience, as mental health affects everyone in many ways, so let them explain how they’re feeling whilst you listen with great empathy.

Make sure you acknowledge that mental health is a sensitive and personal topic; it might be extremely difficult for some of your colleagues/ employees to tell you exactly how they feel. It’s important to let them know that you respect their confidentiality, and they can trust in telling you what they are experiencing. Giving information and support on how to resolve the problems someone is facing will guide them on taking the next steps of requesting assistance, if needed. You can also ensure that mental health (good and bad) becomes a frequently discussed topic at work, this will help to try to eliminate the stigma around speaking about mental health challenges and not feeling embarrassed or worried about doing so.

how do i look after my own mental health.

It’s crucial that you look after your own mental health as well as helping others. Educating yourself around all areas of mental health can help you prepare for handling circumstances which may impact your own well-being. Making sure that you have quality time outside of work so you can unwind is also a key factor in taking care of yourself.

If you find that you are encountering mental health challenges in the workplace, try to reach out to a colleague you can trust, a mental health first aider or take advantage of support such as employee assistance programmes or private healthcare if your company has those in place. Whether you would like to just have a casual chat about how you’re feeling, or would want to take things further, the first step is to speak about how you feel. Try not to bottle up your thoughts and feelings; starting the initial conversation is an important first step.

sign up to our mental health training courses.

As well as offering puppy therapy courses, we also provide a variety of mental health courses revolving around employee well-being.

Check out our upcoming courses here alternatively, you can contact us on to find out more.

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