Are you doing enough to spot the signs
of mental health in the workplace?
Mental health issues come in many forms and accountants despite workloads and deadlines need to make it a priority to ensure the welfare of their employees is a priority; however, the symptoms are often missed by the untrained eye.
Very rarely will a colleague openly come to you and reveal they have a mental health issue, because why would they? It’s a very personal issue and is often still stigmatised. You may even have a colleague that isn’t aware that they have a mental health issue, though due to mounting personal circumstances they have become depressed and withdrawn without realising. It is important as an employer, and as a fellow human being, to look out for signs of change in the mental health of your colleagues and staff.
Understandably there are difficulties in trying to assess the mental state of another person. You may have friends or family that you are particularly close with and you can just tell when something is wrong. However the same cannot be said for colleagues and staff, as we tend not to make such strong bonds with one another; beyond light hearted chit-chat, it is unlikely that you will engage deeply with everybody you encounter at work. This doesn’t mean that the signs of suffering are unnoticeable.
Some signs are more obvious than others. Fluctuating or drastic declines in a person’s attitude and behaviour are key indicators that something is wrong. Signs of social withdrawal and irregular absences are other red flags that should be acted upon. Sometimes colleagues or staff may unintentionally hint that something is wrong e.g. money troubles, relationship issues, family problems, as Accountants you are no doubt well aware of the financial problems that many people face. Make these red flags known to your senior staff and workforce as a whole in order to inform as many people as possible about the importance of spotting mental health issues, in order to provide support and advice as soon as possible.
Your employees’ wellbeing should always be in your best interest. Mental health is so often overlooked and given the time of year where the weather and short daylight hours can affect the mental wellbeing of even the strongest amongst us, it is crucial to pick up on employees already suffering from a mental health issue. Make it clear that you have an EAP in place and that all support is strictly confidential and in the best interest of the employee. Look out for the early signs of an issue and follow it up with support. A happy, healthy workforce is the driving force behind any successful business – but you must ensure that your employees are supported through any circumstance, especially a mental health issue.
Published January 2015