In Part 1 of our Mental Health Week blog and video series we covered some of the reasons why men might be more likely to struggle with their mental health, and what specific work circumstances and conditions could make matters worse. In part 2 we will look at the signs you should look out for in your staff or co-workers that may indicate that they’re struggling, and some strategies to help you help them.
What are some signs to look out for in others, that may indicate that something isn’t quite right?
Whether it’s your employee or a co-worker, you need to get to know those around you well enough to notice the subtle changes in their behaviour that may indicate mental health struggles.
Some changes in behaviour to lookout for may include, but are not limited to:
- Tardiness - someone who’s usually on time for work, suddenly starts coming in late on a regular basis.
- Attitude – someone who’s normally hardworking and focused, becomes lazy and easily distracted.
- Conversational – someone who’s normally chatty, suddenly becomes quiet and withdrawn.
While there could be many other subtle changes to one’s personality and behaviour, the above should give you a good starting point. The key is to be present and attentive to those around you, and to build strong, meaningful relationships that would help you become more attuned to others.
What can you do if you notice those signs in someone? What is the best way to start a conversation with them?
Just lending an ear and simply listening to someone – without judgement – could make a huge difference to their mental state. Taking the first steps to help them open the vent and let off some steam is sometimes half the battle won - provided that you approach it in the right way. TradeMutt offers these handy conversation tips to ensure that you give it the best chance of success possible:
1) Be cool
Don’t make it awkward by getting too serious too quickly. Have a normal, casual conversation to allow the other person to feel comfortable and relaxed.
2) Sharing is caring
One of the best things you can do to start a conversation is to start by talking about your own troubles. By “normalising” the situation and making them understand that everyone experiences some level of mental health struggles, you’ll create a safe space in which they feel comfortable enough to open up.
3) Discretion is key
Do it in private – no one wants to be confronted in front of a large group of people. Do your best to schedule something outside of work hours and outside of the office – maybe even an informal coffee date, a drink or a lunch.
4) Remember – it is not your responsibility!
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to fix anyone’s problems – you're not a mental health professional! Simply do your best to listen to them and give them an opportunity to open up.
For more helpful conversation tips check out https://trademutt.com/pages/help
This blog has outlined some specific behaviours you should be on the lookout for, and some small steps you can take to start a conversation around mental health. Part 3 of the series will discuss steps you can take to help yourself, should you start noticing these signs in yourself.
LIFELINE – 13 11 14 – 24 hour counselling and crisis support.
MENSLINE AUSTRALIA – 1300 78 99 78 – 24 Hour counselling service for men with relationship or family concerns.
BEYOND BLUE – 1300 224 636 – 24 Hour counselling service.
SUICIDE CALL BACK SERVICE – 1300 659 467 – 24 Hour counselling service for anyone effected by suicide.
KIDS HELP LINE – 1800 55 1800 – 24 hour counselling service for young people aged up to 25 years old.
Disclaimer: We are not mental health professionals; however, we are all people and we all have a mind that needs to be taken care of. By talking openly about mental health, we hope to be able to normalise the conversation between individuals, and lead by example to make it easier for others to talk openly too.