It’s not only important to create a psychologically healthy and supportive work environment where workers feel they’re able to talk about mental health concerns without risk of discrimination or reprimand, it’s equally as important to have supports available to those workers to manage their ongoing mental health, wellness and resilience.

How to Support Workers with Mental Health Issues

Psychological and social support comprises all supportive social interactions available at work. It refers to the degree of social and emotional integration and trust, as well as help and assistance provided by others. 

Learn more about creating a more psychologically supportive work environment here

It’s not only important to create a psychologically healthy and supportive work environment where workers feel they’re able to talk about mental health concerns without risk of discrimination or reprimand, but it’s also equally as important to have supports available to those workers to manage their ongoing mental health, wellness and resilience. 

How to Support Workers with Mental Health Issues

It’s important to have resources available, both internally and externally, for workers to learn about mental health, gain skills to become more resilient, and seek help when they need it. Though when mental health concerns arise in the workplace, it’s important the workplaces, particularly people leaders, take an active role in supporting workers with their mental wellness.

Here are some ways to approach mental health support: 

  • Maintain regular, supportive communication with those off work due to mental health concerns. Depending on the situation, this may be daily or weekly, but certainly should be at minimum monthly. Consider sending supportive ‘thinking of you’ messages. Keep team members informed on a need-to-know basis of important or meaningful workplace events or changes. Regularly ask if there is anything you or the workplace can do to support.
  • When appropriate, support workers in finding regulated providers who are trained in evidence-based treatment approaches. Publicly available resources for mental health issues are extremely limited, navigating the system and knowing what to do and where to get help or support can be overwhelming. As such, the workplace can play a very important role in supporting workers.
  • Have an identified team member who facilitates work returns. Ensure this individual is knowledgeable about mental health and trained in psychologically safe skills, strategies and approaches.
  • As required, collaborate with workers to create detailed return-to-work plans. Include a range of options for coping with mental health concerns as they may arise. Note generally, a graduated return to work will be preferable to a full return to work. Make sure to create plans to ensure sustained work return, including strategies to deal with a possible recurrence of symptoms or challenges. Ensure at minimum weekly check-ins for the first 1-3 months, or longer as required.

Workplace Burnout and Work-Life Harmony

In some cases, mental health issues arise at work as a result of burnout or a lack of balance or harmony between our work and home lives. So, it’s important to consider work-life balance for your workers and encourage them to set healthy boundaries with work, as well as take appropriate breaks. 

Here are some ways that workers can work toward achieving work-life harmony. Also, learn more about burnout what it is, how to prevent it, and ways to recover.

Additionally, it can be helpful to have psychological health check-ins be a regular part of team meetings. This not only gives workers time to check in with regards to their mental health, but also provides reminders to take care of our psychological needs, engage in healthy boundary setting, and self-care

Final Thoughts

Psychological health and wellness is important in the workplace, and organizations that foster psychological and social support are more likely to have a happy, healthy, and productive workforce. 

It’s not only important to address mental health concerns as they arise, but also to create a workplace culture where psychological health is a regular part of the conversation. Ideally, workers should feel they are able to bring up mental health concerns in the workplace, and there should be policies and processes in place to support and educate workers. Learn more about creating a workplace culture of psychological and social support here