Supporting People With Mental Health Conditions At Work
Discussing about mental health conditions proves to be a very challenging conversation topic for many people. The fear of marginalization or judgment might be to blame for this. When mental health conditions are not supported at work it invites more stigma and prejudice which makes it even harder for people to open up about their condition. This can hamper their productivity and overall organisational growth. Most of the day is spent at work so it is essential that the working environment provides you with a sense of support and safety. Being supportive does not require any special skills. It only requires you to possess some very basic skills that you otherwise use in your daily life such as empathy, kindness, patience or being approachable, to name a few. Supporting someone with mental health condition starts with encouraging and normalizing the conversations around mental health and creating a culture that is both open and supportive. In contrast to focusing on what someone cannot do, the focus should be directed towards what they can do. The steps to provide support are as follows:
- Acquire the skills necessary to recognize the early signs and symptoms The process of explaining and discussing what you are going through can sometimes be difficult for some people. As a responsible colleague, you must learn to notice the shift in a person and recognize the early signs and symptoms which include frequent change in mood or constant low mood, heightened sensitivity to criticism, isolating self, poor self-care, decreased concentration or productivity and increased absenteeism.
- Encourage them to talk Provide a safe space for them for opening up and talking. Ask open-ended and clarifying questions. This could include asking “How are you feeling?” or “Is there anything that you would want me to help you with?”. Asking the right questions can make them feel like being taken care of.
- Be a patient listener Focus on what is being said without making a judgement or jumping to conclusions. Make sure that your support is responsive to their needs and you can do that by being empathetic and having an adaptive approach. Lastly, it is essential to uphold the trust that an individual puts in you and maintain confidentiality.
- Link them to seek support Owing to the stigma around mental health most people hesitate to ask for help. So you should make sure that they receive the help that is required without them feeling ashamed. Try to link them to mental health resources well in time.
Last but not least every organization must have an action plan which could include training regarding recognizing the early signs of mental health conditions, identifying the triggers and managing them, providing support to peers in times of crisis, and building resilience. Conclusion: People struggle to talk about their struggles with mental health but a little support from your side can help them thrive both at work and in their personal life. Create a supportive, respectful environment that encourages an open dialogue about mental health and the challenges faced by individuals facing the same. To know more about the Fortis Workplace Mental Health Initiative write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +918588807193. Follow on Telegram at fortismentalhealth for more on Workplace Mental Health.