Symptoms of Mental Health problems at work

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Health Assured team

23 April 2018

Being aware and able to spot the symptoms of employees who could potentially be suffering from mental health in the workplace is a valuable ability to have as an employer or manager. Not only will it allow you to offer help and care to your staff early on, but it will also potentially change their life and make a positive impact. It is important to remember that everyone’s experience with ill mental health is different, so symptoms can vary from person to person. However, there are some common signs to look out for regarding an employee’s wellbeing.

If you do spot one of these signs, it does not necessarily mean that someone has a mental health issue. It could signal an underlying health problem or something else entirely. However, it is always worth talking to any staff members who you are concerned about. Read below to find out some of the most common symptoms of mental health problems at work, and ensure that you or any managers are prepared to help any employees who may need it.

Physical Signs

Some of the most common and visible signs are as follows:

Panic attacks - A panic attack can be an incredibly frightening experience and several physical symptoms can happen all at once. Someone who is suffering a panic attack may begin to shake, sweat, struggle to breathe or experience a choking sensation. They may feel as if their heart is pounding at a rapid rate or that they can feel pain in their chest. This may cause them to feel as though they are having a heart attack, or going to die. Panic attacks can be associated with mental health problems such as anxiety or panic disorders. These can be eased with professional help and/or medication, making day-to-day life much easier.

Fatigue - If you have noticed that a certain employee seems to be suffering from constant tiredness, and seems unable to function to their full potential due to this, they could be experiencing fatigue and may benefit from support.

Appetite and weight changes - A sudden increase or decrease in weight, or appetite, could be a warning sign that an employee’s wellbeing is suffering.

Psychological Signs

Psychological signs can be more difficult to spot and therefore may require you to be more attentive towards employee wellbeing. These psychological signs can include:

Lapses in memory - Memory lapses can be one of the more noticeable psychological signs in a person and can often lead to confusion or disorientation.

Distraction and confusion - While it may be hard to spot these symptoms in your team, you may have concerns that one of your employees is suffering but paired with any other signs, it can signal that there is a mental health problem occurring.

Tearfulness - Noticing that a team member is tearful can signal problems in their personal life or perhaps they may be suffering from stress or ill mental health. Regardless of the reason, they may benefit from someone to talk to or support from their co-workers.

Behavioural Signs

Behavioural signs of someone struggling with mental health can be:

Anger or aggression - Increased irritability or anger in an employee can be a tell-tale sign of anxiety or other disorders, especially if this is an employee who usually has a calm and collected personality.

Risk-taking - If an employee has begun to take risks that seem out of character, or appears to be making more impulsive decisions without thinking through the consequences, this can be an implication of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Disorders such as these will require the help and support of a professional.

Increased absence - Notable increased absence in an employee may initially lead you to disciplinary action, however, before this, you may want to consider speaking to them to ensure they’re not facing personal issues. Offering help and support to your staff may help to decrease absence if there is an underlying cause.

You now have some more information about some of the potential signs of ill mental health, therefore you can look out for these within staff members and offer any necessary support. Health Assured is here to help.

You can contact us through your helpline number or email us: [email protected] You can also visit our online portal:

How to improve mental health with an EAP

The employee assistance programme (EAP) offered by Health Assured is a valuable resource that enhances your efforts to promote mental health wellness.

It’s a complete resource, accessible 24/7 worldwide, with access to compassionate support over the phone, in person and online. It encourages individuals to take part in healthy behaviours and activities, offering a sensitive helpline and confidential counselling sessions to help people through life’s challenges.

Plus, to help you identify when someone is at risk or suffering in silence, we offer a way to take action with our mental health first aid course.

With our EAP’s proactive intervention for staff mental health issues, you give your people the best chance to find a positive outcome for their problems. And that has an astounding effect on your return on investment…

Find out more about EAPs



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