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Workplace Solutions for Mental Health
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Managers have a key role in the prevention of mental health problems in the workplace by identifying signs and symptoms and encouraging the employee to seek appropriate resources.

Early intervention strategies

Some early intervention strategies include:

  1. Know your stats: We know that 20 per cent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime (Canadian Mental Health Association). There may be several employees in an organization at any time who are experiencing mental health difficulties or a mental health disorder.
  2. Be proactive: Look out for uncharacteristic behavior. If you have identified such behavior or unexplained performance changes, invite the employee to a discussion. Prepare for this meeting by reaching out to human resources for advice, and making sure you understand the purpose of the meeting and the confidentiality constraints. Evaluate the situation and keep an open mind. Offer resources, such as information about your Employee and Family Assistance Program. Ensure you follow up with the employee in a respectful manner.
  3. Know your policies and procedures: Disability management and duty to accommodate are special areas and human resources or a disability management department can provide guidance about how to handle an absence and facilitate a safe return to work.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health issues

Managers often have difficulty understanding the signs and symptoms of potential mental health conditions. Although there are many different conditions, with each having its own characteristic symptoms, there are behaviors that can signal something may be going on that warrants taking action to help the employee reach out to appropriate resources. These are some examples of behavior to look out for:

  • Unexplained difficulty in making decisions or remembering things
  • Coming to work late
  • Frequent absences
  • Difficulty reaching deadlines and making excuses for missing deadlines
  • Decline in dependability
  • Inability to cooperate with others
  • Decreased productivity
  • Being prone to accidents
  • Unusual increase in errors at work
  • Lack of enthusiasm in work that seemed to be pleasurable
  • Displays of anger or irritability if the employee used to be more calm and easy going