A lot has been written and researched about dealing with poor mental health, but how do you spot the all-important signs?

More often than not, people who are struggling with poor mental health keep it to themselves. They are afraid of the stigma or of being told they are over reacting or worse, being told to “simply get on with it”.  

Being able to recognize the signs of poor mental health in your work colleagues means you can do something about it. It means creating a positive, supportive work atmosphere which ultimately leads to productive, healthy employees.

Signs of poor mental health

Altered Physical Appearance

If you notice an immaculately dressed and well-groomed coworker regularly who suddenly starts dressing ‘down’ or neglecting their personal grooming needs, it could a sign that they are demotivated. Just like with their work, they are starting to care less about their physical appearance.

Failing to Perform

Poor mental health issues also manifest as symptoms of dwindling productivity. Signs include their inability to: concentrate, focus on tasks, low motivation, and a general decline in their enthusiasm. While it is important to avoid jumping to conclusions, it is also advised to monitor your co-worker’s productivity if you see them struggling at tasks they previously excelled at. If you are really struggling with an under-performing employee, we have some tips here that can help.

Behavioural Changes

Individuals who are struggling with mental health issues often exhibit extreme irritability, restlessness, passive aggression, fatigue, tension in their upper body and overall resignation and distance. These changes can alter the entire personality of an individual dramatically, making a once sweet individual cranky and snappy over minor issues.

Lethargy & Compromised Work Ethic

Another sign of a mental health issue can be increased lethargy, absenteeism or late arrivals in an employee who was once applauded for being punctual and disciplined. When an employee starts missing important meetings, avoids taking calls, missing deadlines or requesting sudden leaves of absence, this is an indication of a de-motivated individual. Excessive bouts of exhaustion, constant complaints of fatigue, headaches and other ailments are also a sign of anxiety and depression.

Dramatic Mood Swings

Individuals who struggle with mental health issues often find it difficult to control their emotions and experience sudden mood swings that they find difficult to explain. They have sudden outbursts of anger or sadness, a clear indication of mental ailment, and they find it difficult to deal with minor issues. Be sure to look out for red flags such as sudden bursts of anger, disruptive actions and overly aggressive posturing.

If an employee is consistently having issues with their emotional state, it may be a good idea to to pull them aside and have a conversation.

Withdrawn and Isolated

People struggling with depression or anxiety often withdraw into their shell and exhibit a desire to be alone and isolated. They seem unwilling to talk to someone or reach out to their friends and family members in a self-imposed exile from society. When you see a once cheerful and optimistic individual retreating away from social interactions, it can be a sign of mental health issues. Be sure to reach out to coworkers who appear to be avoiding social engagements.

Mental health in the workplace is something that should be actively discussed. Boosting employee productivity is key – not only to retain staff but to positively impact that bottom line. If you are struggling with workplace health and employee sickness, reach out to DocHQ to see if we can help.

DocHQ Ltd is a Health Tech company improving choices. We help you connect efficiently to health support and advice whether you are at home, work or travelling. See our website for our services or call us on 0330 088 0645.