How to have a conversation with an individual about their mental health
staff absence management,
wellbeing in schools,
Mental health in schools,
Discussing mental health,
absence management in schools,
Do you feel equipped to discuss mental health matters with employees? Here are things to think about to help you prepare:
- Timing and location are key! Choose an appropriate environment where the employee can feel safe and relaxed.
- Make the discussion about the employee not attendance spreadsheets! People can find it difficult to open up about their mental health, so aim to create an open culture where talking about mental health is normalised.
- Ask simple, open and non-judgmental questions and let people explain in their own words how their mental health problem manifests, the triggers, how it impacts on their work and what support they need.
- Don’t make assumptions! Do not prejudge a situation or person. Mental health issues are more common than one suspect and many people manage their mental health without their colleagues and employers even suspecting they would benefit from additional support.
- Mental Health is individual to the person. Symptoms and triggers vary greatly. No two situations are the same so stay open minded and cater your support to the individual.
- Be honest and clear – if there are specific grounds for concern, like high absence levels or impaired performance, it’s important to address these at an early stage.
- Be deserving of their trust! Ask the individual for their consent if you feel they would benefit from further support through counselling etc, as well as what information they consent to you sharing.
- Make a plan! Offer to jointly come up with an action plan which identifies the signs of their mental health problem, triggers for stress, the possible impact on their work, who to contact in a crisis, and what support they need. The plan should include an agreed time to review the support measures to see if they’re having the desired outcome.
- Educate yourself about mental health! There are brilliant charities out there such as Mind who can offer advice to employers.
Our sister company, FusionHR, can provide you with proactive support to help you establish a wellbeing strategy and fulfil your responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 improving mental wellbeing for all staff. They offer a comprehensive Health & Wellbeing support package to tackle the causes of mental health problems and boost employee engagement.
Their Occupational Health support service provides fast and efficient response times for Occupational Health Assessments enabling employees to be seen within 5 working days of the referral date and for the reports to be received by management within 5 working days of the appointment (subject to employee consent). The service includes face-to-face appointments with practitioners and professional counsellors who provide advice and guidance to support employee performance and productivity. Their service, referring directly to an Occupational Health Physician is a timely and effective referral process saving you time and money in the long term.
They can provide wellbeing support services such as mediation, life coaching, bereavement counselling and stress management, all delivered by a team of qualified practitioners with previous education experience. Their counsellors can provide individual counselling and CBT sessions at the employee’s home, school or a mutually agreed location. They also provide on-site counselling in half-day blocks or a for a full day per week if needed to support employees, pupils or parents of the school on a one-to-one basis, with either work-related or personal matters, which may be adversely affecting their lives. We work with you to maintain a happy, healthy workforce.
We can assist you in developing a structure to work together with staff and develop a personal action plan to proactively manage their mental health. This is a great way to encourage an open discussion between the organisation and its staff and will lead to an agreement which will form the basis for ongoing monitoring and support. An action plan should cover:
- known triggers, early warning signs and symptoms
- possible bearing of mental health problems on performance
- the support the individual requires or would benefit from
- a positive course of action to overcome barriers
In summary, be proactive in managing mental health in your organisation. Through Fusion you will have a wealth of tools at your fingertips:
- Direct access to an independent doctor or nurse practitioner
- Access to a range of wellbeing specialists including counsellors, mediators, life coaches, CBT and NLP therapists
- Appointments available onsite or at an independent location to help fulfil your needs
- Pre-employment health checks for potential new recruits
- Face to face or telephone appointments for employees scheduled within 5 working days of receipt
- Report issued within 5 working days of the appointment
- Secure online system to upload referral and receive the report
- Management advice by an HR professional
- Template for reports to ensure all relevant questions from management are responded to
If you would like any further information on Health & Wellbeing and how FusionHR can support your wellbeing strategy, please get in touch with our team on 01924 827869.
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