According to the mental health charity Mind approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
That means that in a workplace of 10 people, at least 2 of them may be suffering with their mental health.
A lot of people with mental health problems are diagnosed and treated, and therefore should continue to work productively.
All this depends on the severity and duration of their symptoms and the impact they have on everyday life.
Work can aggravate pre-existing conditions.
This means when things get tough or stressful in the workplace, it can make effects worse.
Different employers will have different levels of understanding when it comes to depression.
However, every employer will actually have a legal responsibility to help their employees.
According to ACAS:

Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. Demonstrating concern for the physical and mental health of your workers shouldn’t just be seen as a legal duty – there’s a clear business case, too.

So how can you help your team members who are suffering with mental health issues?
Our bespoke banking and financial services recruitment company has some ideas of how you can help:

Open up communication

As soon as you notice that an employee is having difficulties, talk to them.
But if the person does not feel comfortable talking to you about it, suggest they speak to another member of your team, HR or their own GP.
You should aim to make reasonable adjustments to their work schedule, and ask for them to provide any guidance in order to help them.
Also consider the affect having minimal contact or involvement during a sick period may have.
They may end up feeling isolated, or unable to return, so make sure to keep them informed about what is going on, and reassure them throughout their absence.

Aim to be flexible and supportive

One of the main things your employee will want when they’re upset is to have someone listen, reassure them, and most importantly give them any help and support available.
If you are alone in a meeting with them, ask them if they’d like someone with them, and make sure the assistance they are receiving is at a pace that they’re comfortable with.
Are they currently going through a crisis? If that’s the case they may not be able to process information or think clearly. Therefore try to be sensitive to what they can currently cope with.
Think of how you want to handle the situation, it may be best to take some time and think it through.
Consider asking them to highlight the main areas they may need help with, and if they are too upset during the session aim to rearrange it.
Depending on how often these situations occur, you should encourage them to see help with their GP or a mental health service.
Always speak to them calmly and, if possible, take them to a quiet place.
Suggest that you could contact a friend or relative or that they go home and contact their GP or a member of their mental health team, if appropriate.
When your staff need support always aim to work with them to ensure flexibility to suit their health needs.
Ultimately employees with mental health problems should be treated exactly the same as other members of staff, unless they ask for help, or demonstrate signs they need assistance.
You should never make assumptions about their capabilities, promotability or the amount of sick leave they may need.

Take the necessary training

Mental health charities like Mind, who our banking and financial services recruitment company is supporting the Manchester branch of this year, offer training for employers.
The courses on their website are currently available in London and Cardiff.
But if you’re interested in courses in your local area contact your local Mind office.

Utilise routine management

A great opportunity to learn more about your employees, as well as any problems they may have, is through scheduled work meetings, appraisals or informal chats about progress.
If you’re worried about a specific member of staff, make sure you open up dialogue about this early on.
You can do this through:

  • Asking questions in an open and non-judgemental way.
  • Start group dialogues on the topic so that staff are aware they can talk to you.
  • Ensuring that you show that you’re positive and supportive and offer the chance to chat to all your staff.

Our final notes?

If you keep these tips in mind, and seek the help of professionals from charities like Mind, we have no doubt that you’ll be able to ensure the wellness of your staff.
If you’d like to support our fundraising for Manchester Mind, you can do so here.
Looking to start your hunt for the next member of your company?
Remember you can speak to our banking and financial services recruitment company about where you should start, and we can help recruit the best talent for your position.