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6 signs that suggest an employee could be suffering from mental health issues

It is estimated that one in four adults experience mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Put simply, your mental health is how you feel at that particular moment. Mental health issues can range from something like anxiety or depression, to long-term illnesses like dementia.

Mental health issues can be extremely hard to talk about, so it is important to look for warning signs that your friends, colleagues or employees might be suffering from a mental illness. If you notice any of these, don’t let them suffer in silence.

  1. Change in appearance

If you are suffering from poor mental health, it can be very difficult to look after your physical self. Therefore, there can be a change, no matter how minor, in appearance. This could be a sudden change in what they wear or find appropriate, or a lack of personal hygiene upkeep. It could be that you can tell they haven’t slept or have developed unhealthy eating habits. All of these could suggest signs of mental health issues.

2. Frequent or prolonged time off

If you are having a bad day, it is sometimes extremely hard to encourage yourself to have a ‘mental health day’ and take some time to look after yourself. Once you are away from the situation, it can equally be as difficult to go back into the workplace. People who are suffering from mental health problems might take a disproportional amount of leave for long periods of time.

  1. Anxieties that seem irrational

The term ‘irrational’ means ‘without logic or reason’. If your employee suffers from depression or anxiety, they may have reactions to situations that seem out of the ordinary. However, because of their mental health issues, their anxieties might be totally justifiable, as they see the situation in a different way. 

  1. Change in behaviour

Someone who is suffering from mental health concerns may be easily angered, irritated or frustrated for what seems like no reason. This could be caused by intrusive thoughts, or a side effect of a lack of sleep. This could also manifest itself in a decrease of productivity.

  1. Less engagement

Employees who seem more withdrawn also might be suffering with a form of mental illness.

  1. Many jobs over a short period of time

Mental health issues can make it extremely difficult to keep a job. Therefore, if an employee has had many jobs over a short period of time, this may be because of underlying issues. These mental health problems may not have been noticed before, and so their previous employer did not see the warning signs.

If you see any of these signs in your employees, it could be productive to look at an Employee Assistance Programme from LifeWorks. If they are intimidated by the thought of talking to their boss, they have the opportunity to seek 24-hour help from a professional.

This EAP combines modern employee assistance, wellness recognition and incentive programmes. Don’t let them suffer in silence – give your employees a shoulder to lean on and an employer they can trust.

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