Regardless of your position or level within the organization, as a co-worker, you have the ability to contribute to creating a mental health-friendly workplace. It’s important to be a good listener and provide support to colleagues who may be struggling with mental health conditions. However, it’s important to remember that it is not your role to diagnose or speculate about a colleague’s mental health.
To help your colleagues, you can educate yourself about mental health conditions and resources available to support those experiencing them. If a co-worker shares information about a mental health condition or is experiencing work-related stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues, you can encourage them to seek help, such as through an employee assistance program (EAP). If your organization doesn’t offer an EAP, you can suggest seeking help outside of the workplace, such as through a community mental health service provider.
You can also remind your colleagues that they may be able to request a reasonable accommodation to assist in managing their mental health condition, if they feel comfortable speaking to their manager or HR representative about it. On a broader level, you can contribute to creating a supportive and inclusive culture at work and in your community by speaking about mental health in a respectful and non-stigmatizing manner. It’s important to discourage the use of derogatory terms or perpetuating stereotypes about people with mental health conditions, and to always maintain confidentiality about a person’s disability.
Finally, it’s important to remember that everyone has mental health needs, including yourself. Make sure to take care of your own mental health and seek support when needed.