Knowing what to look for is the first step to opening a productive dialogue surrounding mental health and getting your team member the help they need
According to the WHO, 1 in 5 people all over the world will experience a mental health concern at some point in their lifetime. These statistics, compounded by the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic, make it highly likely that someone in your workplace is experiencing mental health concerns like stress, depression, and anxiety.
Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, employees who are struggling may be reluctant to come forward. As a result, mental health concerns often go unrecognized and untreated, leading to bigger problems for the organization and the employee in terms of lowered productivity, increased absenteeism and presenteeism, and poor relationships with team members.
It is important for managers to be able to identify the warning signs of mental health concerns. “Early detection and intervention may help to prevent problems from getting worse,” says psychologist Dr. Rhalf Jayson Guanco. “By identifying the issues that the team member is probably not aware of or does not acknowledge as problematic, but which impact or are more likely to impact on their well-being, we can determine if immediate action is required or if assistance from a qualified mental health professional will be necessary.”
According to Dr. Guanco, if your employee exhibits the signs and symptoms below for more than two weeks, it could be a sign of a mental health concern:
Appearance and behavior
- Appears untidy; displays poor hygiene
- Trembles or shakes
- Wears inappropriate attire
- Seems confused or disoriented
- Has gaps in memory of events
- Has serious difficulty in problem solving
- Appears sad/depressed
- Tends to be anxious for no apparent reason
- Switches emotions abruptly
- Speaks too quickly or too slowly
- Vocabulary becomes inconsistent with the level of education
- Stutters or has long pauses in speech
Thought patterns and logic
- Seems to respond to unusual voices or “sees things”
- Expresses racing, disconnected thoughts
- Expresses bizarre or unusual ideas
Remember that mental health concerns are unlike other performance-related issues, so your approach must be different. Whether you consult your human resources department or the corporate department first, it’s important to gather opinions of experts before doing anything rash. As a team leader, you must have a plan that is win-win for your employee and your company.
MindNation is an innovative mental health and well-being company that partners with like-minded organizations for happier, healthier, and more productive employees. Its comprehensive need-based program is based on each individual’s Well-being Capital © (a system that studies the Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social, and Cultural dimensions of well-being) to ensure that services provided suit each organization’s unique requirements and objectives. Drop us a line at [email protected] if you want to know more about our products and services.
— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation