How to tell if a colleague might be experiencing low mental wellbeing
An awareness of the signs of low mental wellbeing may enable you to assist a colleague in need of help.
Through meetings and other interactions you get to know your staff and colleagues and how they behave. Perhaps you've recently noticed changes in someone's behaviour and you're concerned as to how they might be coping.
Spotting the signs of low mental wellbeing in a colleague may enable you to begin a conversation that leads to providing them with moral or practical support.
It's important to remember that everyone's experience of mental health is different, so there are no hard and fast rules that will help you to determine if someone might be experiencing problems. However, there are certain signs that you can look out for which may be indicative of low mental wellbeing, such as:
- Unusual or uncharacteristic behaviour, including changes to how they interact with colleagues
- Reduced work output, loss of motivation or engagement
- Loss of concentration or inability to make decisions
- Appearing withdrawn or obviously anxious
- A new avoidance of group situations
- Tearfulness or aggression
- Changed working patterns, including late starts or early finishes
- Increase in regular short-term absences.
(Please remember that this information is only a guide and that your own organisation may have it's own HR advice or policies in place to assist you in similar situations.)
Specialist information and resources
Below you'll find links to a range of specialist resources and further information to help you get it right.
- Mind: How to support staff who are experiencing a mental health problem
- Bupa: Signs of poor mental health
- Champion Health: How to spot mental health issues at work
- Health Assured: How to spot mental health issues at work
The importance of an open and supportive workplace
If your workplace or team culture is one that promotes open conversations, including those around mental wellbeing, then speaking to colleagues about whom you are concerned will be far easier. It may even lead to colleagues reaching out to you for support in the first instance.
You can learn more here about ways to support wellbeing in the workplace.