Top Tips For Supporting Someone on Your Team with Mental Ill Health

Did you know that mental health problems affect one in four people? When people experience a mental health condition, they may feel isolated, ashamed and worthless. They may feel that they have no one to talk to and no one to turn to. Mental health is something that we all have and, just like physical fitness, it can be good or poor. So why is it such a taboo to talk about it?

Mental health conditions are something that can affect anyone at any time. Being able to talk to people about mental health can make a significant different.

Top Tips To Support Others in the Workplace

It can be daunting when someone is returning to work after an absence because of mental ill health. They might feel unsure of how people will treat them or they may be nervous about returning to work. As their colleague, you can play a part in welcoming them back.

1.    Check in
Keep a kind eye on them and see how they are doing throughout the day. Just a friendly ‘hello’ at lunch time or a ‘how are you getting on?’ during the day can give them the opportunity to ask for help if they need it or reassure them that they aren’t alone.

2.    Listen and don’t judge
They might want to talk about how they are feeling or they might share their experience with you. That’s ok and letting them talk can be all the outlet they need. Active non-judgemental listening is really important so give them time to speak without jumping in, stop what you are doing so they know they have your full attention and ask questions to prompt them if needed.

3.    Treat them in the same way
Coming back to work might be a way for them to experience some normality so being the same friendly colleague is just what they need. There is no need to be wary or fearful of someone because of their mental ill health. They are still the same person.

4.    Ask twice
It’s easy to just reply ‘I’m fine, thanks’ when we are asked how we are and often people will automatically say this even if they aren’t feeling 100%. Asking twice can give the person the opportunity to be honest about how they feeling.

5.    Don’t forget little gestures can have a big impact.
Making them a cup of tea; carrying something for them; asking them to join you for lunch; these small actions can make such a big difference to someone who might be feeling a little vulnerable and overwhelmed. Don’t underestimate the difference you can make to someone by including them and showing that you’ve thought of them.

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

How to Support Someone with Their Mental Health at Work

Mental Health in the workplace is a hot topic – and why not when research shows that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem this year. That means that it is more than likely that you work with someone with a mental health condition right now.

The Mental Health Foundation has recently completed research that suggests that on average we say “I’m fine” when someone asks us how we are fourteen times per week, but actually we only mean it 19% of the time! Knowing our colleagues can be hard when we have an ever-growing list of priorities to work through, but as we spend the majority of our week with them, why not make an effort to get to know who you work with? Social relationships are essential for promoting wellbeing so what can you do to support your workmates? See our handy help sheet to give you some tips

WHERE AND WHEN

If you want to offer support to a colleague who seems to be struggling, make sure it is not at a time that is very busy or time-limited, or in a place that doesn’t afford any privacy. Your colleague needs to feel comfortable to share their emotions.

ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEEK SUPPORT

Gently ask if they have considered seeking support or if they have someone they can trust to talk to. You could even offer to go to an appointment with them. Seeking help from Employee Assistance Programmes or their GP can offer them specialist support to give them tools to support their feelings.

LISTEN

Asking open-ended questions such as ‘How did that make you feel?’ instead of ‘Did that make you feel low?’ and really giving your work colleague chance to talk is one of the most helpful things you can do. Having someone listen to their concerns can be a positive step in the right direction to seeking help or feeling a little bit more in control. You don’t need to give solutions – just showing understanding and that you care speaks volumes about the support that they have even if they might not have realised it before.

LEAVE YOUR DOOR OPEN

Your colleague might not feel able to open up right away, but letting them know you are there for them and that your door is open (figuratively or literally depending on where you work) shows that you are there to support when they are ready – and that can make such a difference to someone who might feel alone.

BE KIND

Especially to those that might be showing signs of stress and poor mental health, but don’t forget that anyone at any time can be fighting a battle that we can’t see. Taking the time to say hello to people, making a cup of tea for someone or asking how someone’s weekend has been only takes a minute, but it can make a lot of difference to someone who may be struggling.

ALLEVIATE SOME OF THE STRESS

You may be able to help a colleague by doing a favour or small job for them. This doesn’t mean taking on their workload and adding additional stress to your own: something simple like running a small errand for them or washing up a tea cup are all little things that can make a big difference.

IF THERE IS IMMEDIATE DANGER, SEEK HELP

You don’t need to have all the answers. If you feel like someone has the potential to cause harm to themselves or if their emotions and feelings are threatening to overwhelm them, you can seek support from the Samaritans, their GP, a family member or your employer (either line manager or HR).

NON-JUDGEMENTAL

People with poor mental health can often feel like the world is a critical and disapproving place. They may feel vulnerable and self-conscious about how they are feeling. Listening and being neutral in your opinions and answers can help your colleague to share and explore their feelings in a non-threatening way and without worry. They may not always make the best decisions for themselves, but you can always encourage them to make sure they are looking after themselves such as checking they have taken some time to have a break, grab a drink and off load if they need to without the worry of judgement.

GIVE THEM SPACE FROM THEIR WORRIES

Being there for someone and remembering to ask how an appointment went or how they are doing is a vital part of supporting someone. However, it is important to give them space to work through their emotions, including giving them time away from thinking about them. Talking about other light-hearted topics can be a useful tonic and a way to take their mind off some of their worries.

Resilient People are here to help support your organisation through training and wellbeing services to build positive mental health in the workplace all year round. Our ‘RESPOND’ course has been developed especially for managers to give them confidence and knowledge in supporting their teams. This includes how to spot signs and symptoms, how to have a conversation with a member of their team and how to build resilience for challenge and change.

We have a range of services to support mental health and wellbeing in your organisation. Please get in touch for more information: [email protected] or 01977 210220

 

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

5 Reasons to get your Staff Healthy

Employers are now beginning to see that there is a link between work-related stress and a variety of physical and mental disorders. This is despite of the difficulty in proving this due to the fact that the majority of disorders that occur as a result of stress can also have alternative causes. The effects of work-related stress on ill-health can be found in physiological, cognitive, emotional and behavioural ways. Because of this many employers are now beginning to take both the mental and the physical wellness of their employees more seriously. Listed below are 5 quite obvious benefits this can have on your company.

1. It will save you money. Did you know absenteeism through illness costs British business £14bn a year? And with the average British worker taking nine days’ sick leave annually, its no wonder the costs are so crippling. Smaller businesses in particular are feeling the sting due to crucial members being away from their post. Forward-looking companies are trying to deal with sickness before it becomes a problem by looking for ways in which they can improve employees’ health and morale. Initiatives in this area might focus on taking up exercise, eating more healthily, tackling mental health issues and raising awareness of the effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

2. It helps an ageing workforce. A particular consideration for a growing number of businesses is the ageing workforce. The number of people aged over 60 is forecast to increase by the end of the decade and, with the abolition of the fixed retirement age, growing numbers of people are choosing to continue working into their sixties and beyond. A combination of higher life expectancy and inadequate savings means that this trend is set to continue. Whereas this can be great for the business to maintain a stable and experienced workforce it can also present challenges to employers, one of the most significant being the health problems that accompany ageing. A wellness strategy incorporating an annual health screening could play an important role in minimising these.

3. It will boost productivity. It is well established that a healthy workforce is also a productive one. British researchers have demonstrated that employees who exercise regularly perform better at work, manage their time better and are mentally sharper and creative. Encouraging staff to use cycle-to work schemes that allow people to buy a bike tax-free for commuting, or organising on-site fitness activities such as yoga or Pilates can pay dividends for the worker and company alike. Simple initiatives such as encouraging staff to take regular screen breaks, walk around the office and go outside for their lunch hour can help reduce tiredness and stress.

4. It makes staff feel valued/loyal. Health and wellness schemes can make a significant contribution to a company’s morale, by making staff feel valued and appreciated. This in turn can lead to a reduction in absenteeism and staff turnover. According to research carried out by Investors in People, employees who feel their company does not care about their health and well-being are significantly more likely to look for a new job. Initiatives could include setting up an arrangement with a local gym through which staff can use the facilities at lower cost or running activities such as weight loss groups or company sports activities.

5. It makes for a more effective workforce. Research from the University of Bristol found that employees who exercised regularly were generally happier, felt better about themselves and were more forgiving of their colleagues, creating a better atmosphere in the workplace. Nutrition too can make a significant contribution to a happy and motivated workplace, with healthy eating boosting energy, well-being and long-term health. Furthermore, according to a study in the journal Population Health Management, workers who eat unhealthily are highly likely to be much less productive in the workplace. Simple measures such as displaying information on healthy eating in dining areas, liaising with catering staff and organising talks by nutritionists and dieticians can make a significant difference.

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working