SUPPORT STAFF OFF SICK WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
- Put in place a culture that encourages difficult or sensitive conversations that begin long before sickness. By letting staff know to expect contact when they are off sick, it is perceived as less invasive when it takes place. It also sends the message that they are valued, and that support is available to them during difficult times.
- Ensure confidentiality relating to the reason for absence.
- Offer suggestions for adjustments or accommodations that could support a return to work, for example, arrange a face to face meeting, offer minor adjustments in hours or duties.
STRUGGLING AT WORK DUE TO MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
- Implement regular one-to-one meetings. By doing this when employees are well, it’s easier to raise concerns when staff appear to be struggling. Are they behaving differently; lacking concentration; or perhaps less able to cope with change; they may talk less, or may become irritable, aggressive or disinterested?
- Reduce the level of stress on an employee.
- Listen to the employee and make it comfortable for them to talk. Don’t fill silences, give them time to process their thoughts.
- Consider tools that will help employees open up and possible adjustments that might help them stay at work – e.g. offer private space at work; offer a more flexible approach to start and finish times; provide a buddy or mentor.
EMBRACE A MENTALLY HEALTHY WORKPLACE
- Introduce a workplace wellbeing programme to promote health, safety and wellbeing. Get buy-in from the workforce, which might include the offer of health checks for workers or raising awareness of support services. This could also include healthy eating, stopping smoking and alcohol awareness.
- Some organisations find it helps to introduce a mental health policy to underline the commitment to supporting mental health in the workplace.
- Encourage good, open communication and inspire staff to just: ASK, LISTEN, TALK.