In episode 111 of “The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast,” JoDee and Susan discuss how to support your team’s mental health with Clinical Psychologist Dr. Paul Pendler.
Supporting a staff member when they’re struggling with mental health can make a real difference in that person’s personal life, work performance, attendance, relationships with coworkers, ability and willingness to stay at your company. Right now, adding to all the normal stressors we deal with at work and in life, we’re in a worldwide pandemic, which has created new uncertainties and increased the risk for anxiety and depressive disorders.
Dr. Paul Pendler joins the show to share his expertise in navigating through mental health issues in the workplace. Historically, it was most common to see people struggling with their mood at work, often because of an affective disorder or depression. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people are struggling with a sense of social isolation and with how to engage with someone you’re concerned about through a camera.
The pandemic has given us an opportunity to let the walls between personal and professional come down, as we see each other in our homes, hear teammates’ dogs, etc. Unfortunately, managers often think they aren’t supposed to talk when someone mentions a medical situation; it’s important to remember that this pandemic is a human event and to genuinely and authentically just talk to them about it. Many people worry that they may say the wrong thing to a person with a mental health condition and send them over the edge, but that person really just needs to hear that you heard them.
If you suspect a staff member may be considering harming themselves or others, the important thing, again, is to talk to them about it. Start with compassion, and come up with a script where you let the person know you’re concerned about them, are wondering if they’ve thought about hurting themselves, and make sure you follow that up with more questions. If you find that they’ve been thinking about doing something to harm themselves or others and that there’s an imminent threat, in the U.S., you can call the paramedics and police and have them do a wellness check; they’ll make the decision once they meet somebody what to do or not do.
Paul recommends that companies post pandemic resources for their employees online and find opportunities for people to talk to each other about how they’re managing. Embrace the concept of employee assistance and wellness programs and work your health plans around emotional adjustment concerns the same way you would for medical conditions. Finally, remember that you have to have hope, and we need to look out for each other.
In this episode’s listener mail, our listener asks about getting buy-in for HR initiatives from top management. In the news, JoDee and Susan discuss the benefits of bringing pets to work.
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