4 Must-Know For Managers Dealing With Mental Health

It isn’t always easy for managers dealing with mental health to know what to do if this isn’t something you have been exposed to personally. If you are a line manager and one of our direct report comes to you with concerns about their mental health, what do you? Not always straightforward if you haven’t had training. I was just discussing this with a friend in this situation today and thought it was worth discussing this topic with you.  

If a direct report opens up to you, it’s great news!

It might seem a little scary at first but if your direct report shares with you their concerns about their mental health, it means they trust you. This is a very important point because someone experiencing anxiety or depression often has self-worth issues due to anxiety or depression. It takes a lot of energy for a person in this state to reach out for help so you should appreciate the trust they have put in you.  

For more on this topic from the direct report point of view, watch my video on ‘Should You Talk About Your Boss About Your Mental Health’:

Get support

Find out what your company policies on this are. Do you have any guidance available from your HR department? Can you get support from Occupational Health? Does your company offer training for line managers dealing with mental health? Does your company offer wellbeing training?

Mental health has become such a topic of discussion recently that more and more companies have internal programmes, trainings, seminars, available to their staff to help them navigate the current uncertainty.

So ask your manager and your HR department about what, if anything, is available within your organisation.

Do your own research

There are so many resources online now that it has never been easier to get up to speed with understanding mental health.

If you are enjoying this article, you might enjoy this one too:  Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban

Obviously, this blog will give you an insider perspective. But you can also visit the following sites for official advice: Mental health – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or Workplace | Mind.

Trying to understand what your direct report is going through will make a big difference.

Your direct report’s health is their responsibility

And it is not yours. There is only so much you can do to help them. You can direct them to useful resources like this blog, where they can learn to look after themselves. You can do a few things like listening, taking them out for a short walk and giving them a break when they are having a hard day.

But at the end of the day, they need to take responsibility for their own wellbeing. They might need counselling or coaching. They might need to learn how to look after themselves. It’s great that they have talked to you, but have they spoke to their GP? Have they got in a touch with a counsellor?

All you can do is:

  • Know what resources are available internally
  • Have a few external resources to recommend too
  • Be a decent human being about the situation        

4 must-know for managers dealing with mental health – key take aways

  1. You are in a position of trust, be worth of it  
  2. Get support – how can the company help them?  
  3. Do your own research: understanding what your direct report is going through is half the solution
  4. Know where the line is: ultimately it is your direct report’s responsibility to look after themselves  

Try these simple hacks and let me know how you get on

Do you have other tips for managers on how to deal with menta health? What works well for you? I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments.

This article is part of the series Happier At Work, which you can find here.

And remember, happiness is a choice, and you are in charge!

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