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March 13, 2017 by
aliereadvisors
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that approximately one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year.

This statistic equates to around 43.8 million individuals or 18.5% of the population. While this number may be more than you would have guessed, it is becoming a more and more accepted fact that mental illness plagues the lives of many Americans, and something must be done about it.

Providing support to these individuals is a vital part of helping them cope with their illness and ensuring that they stay as safe and healthy as possible.

The buck doesn’t stop with friends and family, though, especially in this day in age. In fact, it is becoming more and more of a norm for business leaders and managers to take measures to support their employees that struggle with these illnesses.

While this can certainly be a tough topic to navigate, here are our best tips for being a supportive manager.


How Managers Can Support Employees with Mental Health Illnesses

Be upfront

As a manager, if you know that one of your direct reports struggles with a mental illness, it is important to be upfront with them. Explain to them your knowledge of the disease and don’t be afraid to ask them questions.

Most importantly, directly ask them the best ways for you to support them through their illness as it relates to work. Let them know that you are there as a resource, but also make it clear that you want to help them in a way that they are comfortable with.

This is a great conversation to have to open the lines of communication surrounding their illness to best understand what you can do as a manager specifically for that person.

Be confidential

This one pretty much goes without saying, but it is extremely important to be as confidential as possible when it comes to supporting an employee who struggles with a mental illness.

Let them know that the conversations you share with them surrounding it are between just the two of you, and make it clear that they dictate how many or how little people in the office know about their condition.

Remember that it is their place to inform others of their personal health situation, and also let them know who their resources are in the office besides yourself.

Don’t avoid the subject

While it is a tough topic to broach, your direct report’s condition should not be an avoided conversation. It is vital to let them know that you care about the situation and that you are more than open to discussing it whenever they would like to.

It’s also helpful to regularly check in with them just to see how they’re doing. This certainly shouldn’t be all you talk about with them, but make sure that it is addressed properly and frequently, unless they’ve made it clear they do not wish to discuss it.


How a PEO Can Help

PEOs are extremely helpful in teaching employees and HR professionals how to deal with sensitive topics such as these. To find a PEO that can play a role in your company, call us today for your complimentary competitive analysis.

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