Posted May 27

Mental Health Awareness Month: are you okay?

by Ronan Rusu
Mental Health Awareness Month: are you okay? by Ronan Rusu

Everyone has their ups and downs and in those times of grey, some people just want to be left alone and let the phase pass through. But what if it is something more? If you get a slight inkling that something is a bit off with your colleague, big or small, it doesn’t hurt to reach out as a pair of ears to listen or to offer support.

Here are some tips for how you can reach out to a colleague.

This is not medical advice or guidance, and you should always seek professional advice if you are concerned about your mental health. You may find resources and more information here.

Make time and engage in normal conversation

When reaching out to a colleague that you suspect could be struggling with their mental health, the approach itself is very important as this is probably a very difficult time for them. You wouldn’t want to come across too strong or pushy and make them more hesitant to open up. Find a good time to talk to them. If they respond, you will want enough time to be able to listen without the rush of an upcoming meeting or deadlines. Engage in regular conversation and mention that you feel like something is a bit different about them. Really pay attention and ask things such as ‘have you felt this way before? If so, how did you deal with it previously?’

Be mindful, open, and really listen

Remember that you can only do so much if they say nothing is wrong. Be respectful and let them know that you are there to listen without judgment if they want to speak. If a colleague is going through mental health issues but hasn’t spoken to you about it, it is good to follow up and check in on them from time to time, but make sure you’re not being pushy.

You can also remind them that they are not alone in this and, where possible, help point them toward mental health support schemes such as an employee assistance programme. -

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