Recognising Signs of Poor Mental Health in the Workplace and Supporting Your People

poor mental health

The workplace is where we spend a significant portion of our waking hours, making it a crucial environment for both professional growth and personal well-being. However, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety, which can lead to poor mental health if not managed properly. As employers, it’s essential to be aware of the signs of poor mental health in the workplace and take proactive steps to support employees who may be struggling. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to spot these signs and provide guidance on how employers can create a mentally healthy workplace.

Recognising Signs of Poor Mental Health

Here are a few signs of declining or poor mental health:

Changes in Behavior:

  • Withdrawal: An employee who was once outgoing may become withdrawn, avoiding social interactions.
  • Irritability: Unexplained irritability, mood swings, or increased sensitivity to feedback can indicate underlying issues.

Decreased Productivity:

  • Reduced Output: A noticeable decline in the quality or quantity of work.
  • Procrastination: Frequent missed deadlines or an inability to focus on tasks.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Frequent Illness: Persistent physical ailments, such as headaches or stomachaches, can be linked to stress.
  • Fatigue: Constant tiredness, even after a full night’s sleep.

Emotional Distress:

  • Emotional Outbursts: Distress, crying or emotional outbursts at work.
  • Anxiety: Expressing worry, fear, or anxiety about work-related matters.

Changes in Appearance:

  • Neglect of Personal Hygiene: An employee who used to take good care of themselves may start neglecting personal hygiene.


  • Avoiding Colleagues and Conversation: Avoiding team meetings, lunches, or social gatherings with colleagues.

Frequent Absences:

  • Increased Sick Days: Frequent absenteeism, especially due to vague or unexplained reasons.

Supporting Employees with Poor Mental Health

Now we understand some of the signs, it’s important to understand how we can take action to support those who are suffering from poor or declining mental health.

Create a Safe and Supportive Environment:

Create an open and stigma-free workplace culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns. It could be that an area is designated for such conversations.

Promote Work-Life Balance:

Encourage employees to take breaks, use their annual leave, and set clear expectations about working hours. It’s important that your people have time to decompress and pursue personal interests and enrichment.

Training and Awareness:

Provide mental health awareness training to employees and supervisors to recognise signs and offer appropriate support.

Financial wellbeing is currently an area of focus for many businesses. With employees feeling the effects of the cost of living crisis and/or other financial hardships, employers should become aware of the struggles and also the support/resources available for their employees.

Flexible Work Arrangements:

Consider exploring flexible working, remote work options, or compressed hours to accommodate employees dealing with mental health issues.

Encourage Communication:

Regular check-ins with employees can help them feel valued and supported. Encourage managers to have open conversations with their team members, this is an opportunity to spot the signs and struggles and be proactive in offering support.

Set Realistic Expectations:

Ensure that workloads and deadlines are manageable, preventing employees from feeling overwhelmed. Having open communication will encourage employees to express these feelings.

Provide Resources:

Share resources such as mental health websites, helplines, or local support groups with your employees.

Prioritising mental health in the workplace is not just morally beneficial, it is also beneficial to the health and growth of your business. Employees who feel supported and mentally healthy are more likely to be engaged, productive, and committed to their work. By recognising the signs of poor mental health and taking proactive steps to support employees, employers can create a workplace that values wellbeing and contributes to the success of both the organisation and its workforce. Ultimately, a mentally healthy workplace benefits everyone involved.

How can oneHR help?

Backed by a team of HR professionals, oneHR can provide you with resources, support and a platform to capture, track and monitor key conversations in relation to the wellbeing of your people.

Speak to the oneHR team today for help with supporting the mental health of your people.

Call: 0330 107 1037


Find us on Instagram: @oneHR_

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