How to Support Your Team’s Mental Health
If you’re a leader, the chances are high that at least one of your team members is struggling with mental health concerns right now. However, it isn’t always easy to detect such struggles, and even if you do, knowing how to proceed can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you help your employees:
- Ask – Your team doesn’t expect you to be a mental health professional, but something as simple as a “How are you coping right now?” can make a big difference to your employees. If you notice a change in their mood or behavior, gently include that in your ask: “I sense that you’re feeling overwhelmed, how are you handling everything?” If they dismiss it, you at least opened the door for honesty and can check in again periodically. If they do decide to share, remember to focus on the person instead of any awkwardness you may feel.
- Listen – You are not there to fix anything, your most important job is to listen. Some teammates may cry and that’s okay- you could be the first person to ask how they’re doing. Repeat their words back to them to show you’re truly understanding how they‘re feeling: “It sounds like things are really hard right now.” As they share, try and think of what connections you can make to solve their problems. If it’s a workload issue, create a plan with your team that works for everyone. For many employees, “work as usual” is not an option, so be considerate with expectations. Managing the situation now will only help you both in the long run.
- Support – If you think the situation may be bigger than just work and they could benefit from speaking with a professional, have a few phone numbers on hand that you can provide. Using “we” phrases can help remind them they aren’t facing this alone: “When we feel this way, it‘s important to talk to someone who has the tools to get through this.” Make sure to check on them in a few days to ensure they’ve been able to access the resources they need.
Creating an open-door policy, even if it’s just virtual, can help alleviate mental health issues and allow employees to reach out before things become unmanageable. If your employees need additional support or ways to manage their wellbeing, please fill out the form below.