4 Ways Managers Can Recognize Declining Mental Health In Employees and How to Handle It

17 August 2022
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"Workplaces can play an essential part in maintaining positive mental health. They can make people feel productive and strongly contribute to employee wellbeing. Yet it can also be a stressful environment contributing to the rise of mental health problems and illnesses. No workplace is immune from these risks, and we cannot afford to limit our definition of occupational health and safety to only the physical," according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

"Workplace wellness programs are designed to promote positive health behaviours and minimize negative ones. Employers who choose to implement these programs experience many benefits, including lower health care costs, increased employee productivity and lower rates of employee absenteeism," according to G&A Partners.

However, before enjoying the benefits of workplace wellness plans, employers must identify the problems within their companies in order to design such programs. With managers being on top of multiple things, it is hard for them to detect the decline in their employees' mental health. The Mental Health Commission of Canada shares some techniques to help you notice this issue.


  1. Look for Changes in Mood, Behaviour, or Performance

    When an employee deviates from their typical attitude, behaviour, or performance, it may indicate declining mental health. These changes can be as subtle as leaving the camera off during meetings or a decline in personal grooming.


  2. Create a Safe Space for Having Open Conversations about Mental Health

    Remind your team members how important it is to reach out if they are struggling, whether working from home, in the office, or in the field. If someone does approach you, be sure to turn off distractions and practise active listening, so they have the chance to share freely.


  3. Have Regular Check-ins and Meetings

    Regular check-ins will help you recognize changes in each team member's usual mood, behaviour, and performance. These one-on-ones can also strengthen your relationship and build the trust that will make employees more likely to get in touch with you if there's a problem.


  4. Share Internal and External Resources

    Ensure your team knows what internal programs are available (employee benefits, employee and family assistance programs, etc.) and how to access and use them. You can also inform them about helpful external resources, such as those at the Wellness Together Canada portal.


"With most adults spending significant time at work, addressing mental health issues at the workplace is vital for all people in Canada. 70% of Canadian employees are concerned about their psychological health and safety while at work," according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada. This only shows how important mental health is and why managers must pay attention to their employees and help bring a solution.


How much importance is mental health given in your company? Share in the comments what programs you know to bring a solution to this problem.  

Have more to say? Start a conversation in our forum to share your thoughts with other professionals in this community.  


Other The 17th Floor articles you might find interesting:

11 Ways to Promote Wellness in your Company
A 3-Step Plan to Assist Your Employees Reduce Stress and Anxiety at Work
Better Work-Life Balance Starts with Managers

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2 Comments

Caitlin Henderson, PCP
Caitlin Henderson
August 17, 2022 at 11:22

I work in a company with front line employees, burnout, PTSD and other trauma related injuries are very common. We have several benefits in place to support employees when a break is needed. Managers have weekly check-ins with staff to ensure they are doing well professionally and personally.

Marna Lagerquist
Marna Lagerquist
August 18, 2022 at 08:25

Regular check ins with your employees is so important.

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