To foster mental health, train employees to recognize warning signs
  • Blog post

To foster mental health, train employees to recognize warning signs

Employers have known for a while now that the mental health of their employees is a significant business consideration. And mental health has only grown in importance as a topic during the pandemic, with research studies showing increased depression, anxiety and stress associated with its effects.

So what can employers do to foster mental health in the workplace? One proven step is to raise awareness, and train employees to recognize mental health warning signs.

Warning flags

A white paper at the training site BizLibrary lists the following warning flags that are likely to go up when an employee is suffering a mental health crisis:

  • Difficulties in problem-solving. People may take longer than normal to finish tasks, especially ones that require thought and analysis.
  • Changes in appearance. Employees may display poor hygiene habits or dress inappropriately.
  • Declining invitations. Skipping opportunities for socializing — such as group lunches or happy hours — may signal feelings of isolation or loneliness.
  • Exaggerated anxiety and worry. People may believe their co-workers “have it in” for them, or fear that small or non-existent performance issues will cause them to lose their job.
  • Shifts in eating or sleeping. Employees may miss meals or complain of constantly being tired at work.
  • Mood swings. People may shift rapidly between high and low emotional states, or display increased frustration and irritability.
  • Absenteeism. Employees who suddenly start showing up late or not at all may be suffering from mental distress.

Resources and flexibility

Of course, an effective mental health initiative will include other aspects, including resources like Employee Assistance Programs and wellness advice. Employers may also consider introducing additional flexibility options for employees.

But making sure employees know what mental health challenges look like isn’t a bad place to start.

This blog entry is based on the following white paper: “Changing Minds: Mental Health at Work and How to Better Support Your Employees,” at



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