How you can support someone you’re concerned about at work

Sep 03, 2019

We spend a lot of time at work with the same people, which means we are exposed to changes in their behaviour. If you’re concerned about someone’s mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, it’s important to know how to support them.

Poor mental health can affect people across all workforces, and this is particularly evident in the small business sector. Recent research reveals that nearly one third of small business owners experience high levels of psychological distress.

People running small businesses face unique challenges and responsibilities, such as long hours, cash flow issues, work-life balance and social isolation. 

These factors can have a negative impact on their mental health, which can manifest in different ways. It may cause them to miss deadlines, lower their professional standards, or even miss work and become disengaged from clients and colleagues. 

This week, Beyond Blue launched ‘Supporting small business owners to improve their mental health and wellbeing at work – A guide for work contacts, friends and family’. The resource allows small business advisors, along with friends and family, to provide practical advice to small business owners and empower them to look after their own mental health.   

For more information about the resource, check out this webcast.

Anybody in the workforce can be susceptible. It’s important to support colleagues to achieve their best possible mental health, which can boost motivation, engagement and morale. 

So, what does supporting a colleague look like? 

  • start a conversation – be genuine, supportive and listen carefully
  • identify next steps – you may need to inform a manager or HR
  • follow up – check back in with the person to see how they’re doing
  • look after yourself – these conversations can be tough for you too

Learn more about providing support as an employee.

If you are a manager…

  • encourage transparency – talk openly about mental health at work
  • promote education - offer training opportunities and resources to employees
  • ask questions – does the business need a mental health and wellbeing policy?
  • be proactive – approach someone you’re concerned about.

Learn more about providing support as a manager.

How to look after your own mental health as a small business owner 
Learn more about discussing mental health with your workmates 

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