Managing Mental Health at Work: Conversations

Managing Mental Health at Work: Conversations

Posted by Jan Lawrence


Please take a look at our latest film on the Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Mental Health Conversations at Work.


Managing Mental Health at Work: Conversations


What NOT to do

  • Start the conversation in front of other people, or when your mind is on other things.
  • Ask questions that could make the person feel pressurised e.g. “What’s up?”, “Are you stressed?”, “What is wrong with you?”
  • Try to diagnose.
  • Reveal personal information to colleagues without agreeing what is necessary first.
  • Rush in with another question before you have listened to the answer.
  • Agree to something you can’t see through
  • Use words that might lead the person to think you are focusing on medical diagnosis rather than feelings e.g. “you seem a bit manic”
  • Pressure the person to answer.


What TO do

  • Find somewhere neutral to have the conversation.  Plan it so you won’t bump into other team members and you both have some privacy.
  • Avoid interruptions by switching off electronic equipment including your phone.
  • Focus completely on listening to the person and only refer to info that will help you support them.
  • Use open questions in a relaxed style e.g. I was wondering how you were doing?”
  • Use non-judgemental language.  Keep things neutral e.g. you seem a bit low today?
  • Be consistent and reliable.  Make sure you have arranged a follow up meeting after the current one and then follow it up.
  • Give them lots of time to respond.  It may take longer depending on the nature of the condition and the nature of the conversation.
  • To build trust you must give thought to confidentiality.
  • It is very important to agree who else needs to know and what information is okay to share.

We would appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about ways in which our training might fit with your organisations needs.