A manager’s guide to dealing with mental health at work

Running a business comes with a wealth of responsibilities, not least among them being a duty to protect the welfare of any personnel you employee. This obligation not only relates to your workers’physical health, it also also encompasses their psychological well-being.

Being able to deal effectively with mental health at work can help you prevent a wide variety of serious business problems, from absenteeism, to high staff turnover, to low productivity. Why not take your first step in learning how to handle this sensitive and often taboo subject by reading this blog?

Get professional training

Just because you or a member of your family or social circle has experienced a mental health problem doesn’t mean that you know how to deal with this subject in a professional capacity. You must remember that mental health issues are extremely wide ranging and it takes a great breadth of knowledge to understand how to adapt your approach to deal with different problems.
To give yourself the best chance of handling mental health in your business successfully, it’s a good idea to enroll yourself and any line managers in your firm on a training course in managing health and well-being at work.
According to Sheilds, a company that offers such training, this kind of program is a must for managers, supervisors, HR and health and safety workers.

Provide equal opportunities

A previous or existing mental health problem is not indicative of poor performance so it’s vital that you focus on knowledge, skills and experience rather than health issues when recruiting for a position.
Discrimination in the recruitment process is not only unfair to candidates, it could result in your company missing out on the most talented and capable individuals. Be as realistic as possible when writing job descriptions and don’t be afraid to highlight the negative facets of a role as well as the positive. Truthful descriptions are more likely to attract candidates that are genuinely a good fit for the position.
Bear in mind that when there is a mismatch between a worker’s skills and an organization’s expectations, mental ill health can develop or be made worse. Similarly, there should be correspondence between the needs and values of an individual and those of the work environment.

Start as you mean to go on

To some extent you may be able to prevent common mental health problems, such as stress, by implementing working practices that positive mental well-being. For example, managers should ensure that all new starters go through an induction process and that it provides sufficient guidance about expectations and processes.
This can help to prevent the development or exacerbation of symptoms associated with mental health problems.


Many managers already hold regular supervision meetings with their subordinates to keep track of their work. However, it’s important that these catch-ups are used to monitor wellbeing too.
Having regular one-to-one discussions can help you to spot the early warning signs of mental ill health in your employees. Physical, psychological and behavioural changes, such as fatigue, loss of motivation and irritability, may be a sign that something is not quite right.
However, it’s important not to jump to the conclusion that a person is experiencing mental ill health based on one or two symptoms alone. Instead, managers should ask straightforward, non-judgemental and open questions to allow the employee to open up about any issues they are having.

These are just some of the ways that you can protect the mental wellbeing of your employees. For more information, you should sign up to a training program that offers comprehensive guidance and advice.

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