According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace. Evidence also suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
Mental Health Awareness
Employers and managers should be alert to the early signs of mental ill health and how to respond, and signpost to support services. Early intervention can help prevent issues from escalating, but employers should not give advice about a mental health issue as they are rarely qualified to do so.
Managers should be alert to the potential workplace triggers for distress, such as:
• people working long hours and not taking breaks
• unrealistic expectations or deadlines
• high-pressure environments
• unmanageable workloads or lack of control over work
• negative relationships or poor communication
• an unsupportive workplace culture or lack of management support
• high-risk roles
• lone working.
Questions to Ask and Avoid
Below are some questions that are important to ask and avoid if you think someone is struggling with their mental health:
|Questions to ask||Questions to avoid|
|How are you doing at the moment?||You’re clearly struggling. What’s up?|
|You seem to be a bit down/upset/ under pressure/frustrated/angry. Is everything okay?||Why can’t you just get your act together?|
|I’ve noticed you’ve been arriving late recently, and I wondered if you’re okay?||What do you expect me to do about it?|
|I’ve noticed the reports are late when they usually are not. Is everything okay?||Your performance is unacceptable right now – what’s going on?|
|Is there anything I can do to help?||Everyone else is in the same boat and they’re okay. Why aren’t you?|
|What would you like to happen? How?||Who do you expect to pick up all the work that you can’t manage?|
|What support do you think might help?|
|Have you spoken to your GP or looked for help anywhere else?|
It is important if someone is acting differently to ask if everything is ok. 1/4 people in the UK suffer from mental health. Always #AskTwice.