The COVID-19 virus has created many challenges around mental health awareness at workplace and physical safety in general. Yet given the stigma still associated with mental health, fostering an environment in which people feel emotionally safe and supported is simultaneously one of the most important and difficult challenges for leaders. This challenge is exacerbated further as employers reopening offices and encouraging employees to return to them.
At the heart of psychological safety is the feeling that we can openly and respectfully share what we think or feel without fear of negative consequence. One key aspect of psychological safety is the connection people have with their co-workers. Mental health awareness at workplace involves fostering strong social connection within a team helps build emotional safety. While virtual meetings can help people connect, it’s important to encourage conversations that are not work related. For instance, setting aside thirty minutes a day, or an hour a week, for a team check-in during which the only topic off the table is work.
Mental illness is a silent epidemic. Yet because we can’t see it, we can easily miss it. While only licensed professionals can accurately diagnose mental health risk, anyone can be on the lookout for indicators that the people they work and live with aren’t coping well. Early intervention can spare enormous suffering – not just to those who are unwell but for those around them. Common warning signs include:
- Feeling sad/withdrawn for extended periods (two plus weeks)
- Increased absenteeism or noticeable productivity losses
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sudden or unpredictable shifts in attitude or mood
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
If you observe these signs, don’t let your fear of an awkward conversation stop you from saying something. Peter Thies recommends engaging in a conversation about the behaviour you see, without suggesting causation or inferring fault. You might also share a personal experience to support and help remove some of the social shame many people feel when they aren’t coping as well as they think they’re supposed to.
Original article was published on Forbes here.
The following hotlines are intended for residents in Singapore.
- SOS 24-hour Hotline: Call 1800-221-4444 (This is manned by trained volunteers) SOS e-mail befriending service: email@example.com (Response time is within two working days).
- Singapore Association of Mental Health: Call 1800-283-7019
- Institute of Mental Health: Call 6389-2222 (24 hours)
- Tinkle Friend: Call 1800-274-4788 (For primary school-aged children)
- Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): Call 1800-353-5800