Depression and other mental illnesses are affecting more people in the UK than ever before. This means that as an employer or manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your staff feel comfortable enough to seek help from you if necessary.
Below are some simple policies and procedures that will help to provide the proper support and encouragement any sufferers need in order to come forward and seek treatment or confide in you.
Educate your employees about depression, the warning signs, symptoms and how it can affect performance in the workplace. Raising awareness not only helps people to recognise if they themselves are suffering, but the less taboo the subject, the more likely people are to come forward if they have already been diagnosed.
Offer extra help
If you have any existing employee assistance programmes in place then make sure they know about this because it can be a big help when it comes to coping with mental illnesses. If you don’t already have anything like this, it’s well worth considering because the number of people diagnosed with depression in the UK rises every year so chances are that it will affect your business at some point.
Create the right atmosphere
One of the most effective things you can do as an employer is to promote a culture of acceptance. Teach your employees that mental illnesses are no different to other ailments such as diabetes or asthma. This helps to eliminate any prejudices or judgements.
If employees are happy to talk to you but want it to remain confidential, respect this and under no circumstances discuss their situation with anyone they haven’t consented to.
Depression is not easy to overcome and it will take time. Try to be as flexible as you can in order to help aid this. For example, they may take more sick days than usual - try not to get frustrated with this. Perhaps offering flexible working from home or reduced hours may help until they have made a full recovery.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with depression, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programmes page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available. You can also contact us for help with depression today.