How Do I Know If Someone Has Mental Ill Health If They Haven't Told Me?
If you think a member of staff has a mental health issue then the first question to ask yourself is "why?"
- Are there work-based issues?
- Is there a performance issue with the person?
- Have you noticed erratic or changed behaviour?
- Are there other signs of a mental health issue?
- Have other staff members said anything?
Have a look at some early warning signs we've outlined to give you some guidance on whether somebody may be dealing with a mental health condition.
Acting on clear evidence is important, but it's also important to use your common sense and your natural instincts to care for others.
As a manager you'll be used to discussing staff performance or problems with your employees. Occasionally the reason for a decrease in performance could be a mental health issue.
If you are thinking about discussing this with the employee it's really important to follow some guiding principles.
- Be clear that you wish to discuss a performance issue. Even if you think there may be a mental health issue. Start your discussions based on the evidence of the changes in performance just as you would normally.
- Consider asking someone else to get involved. A colleague, from HR or a team colleague they trust for example, a union rep or possibly a friend or family member could also help in some circumstances.
- Find out whether your company offers an Employee Assistance Programme so you can remind your employee what support is offered by the company.
- Avoid talking about performance if you think there may be a mental health problem.
If you find yourself informed of an employee's mental ill health indirectly or through gossip take the following steps:
- Challenge the person giving you the information. Have they heard this directly from the person concerned? is there a work related issue?
- Consider whether there is any evidence to back up this. Without evidence of an issue at work there is no conversation to be had.
- Make sure the person giving the information knows that you cannot act on this information until there is an evidence-based work issue.
If you establish that your employee is dealing with a mental health condition follow the guidance given in how do I support someone with mental ill health?
If it is still not clear that your employee is dealing with mental ill health look at guidance given in how do I create a healthy workplace?