As a manager or leader, there are a number of practical things you can do to support individuals in the workplace who are experiencing a mental health condition. Some ways to approach this may include:
- take an interest in the employee’s life without intruding, while also maintaining their privacy. Listen and offer support.
- seek written permission from the employee to speak to their treating health professional about how the workplace can support their recovery.
- explore the possibility of staying at work before assuming the employee will need time off.
- developing a work plan together with the employee. This should provide clarity on roles, responsibilities and any reasonable adjustments to the workplace to support the employee’s recovery. Adjustments might include allowing time off to attend appointments or modifying the employee’s working hours. Every plan will be unique and tailored to the needs of the individual, workplace, and role.
- seek support from any human resources specialists, occupational rehabilitation providers or Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that may be available to the business.
- manage absences where required and review workloads of other team members to ensure they are not unfairly burdened by the changes.
- communicate with the rest of the team about why some adjustments have been made, in a way that protects the employee’s privacy. Discuss with the employee how and what they would like others to be told.
- keep in touch with the employee during periods of leave and support them on their return. This might include a return to work plan, developed collaboratively, and regular problem-solving meetings between the employee and his or her manager.