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Signs Employees May Be Struggling

Employees spend almost as many of their waking hours with their colleagues and supervisors than they do with their own families.  As such, as employers, there is the opportunity to recognizes changes in behavior that may be indicative of a struggle with a mental health disorder.  Also, outsiders often may notice a change before the individual in question does.

It is important to understand as employers that "performance issues" may actually be a reflection of an underlying mental health disorder.  It is important to not attempt to diagnose, but rather to look for changes that differ from normal behaviors. 

Common signs that an employee may be struggling include:

  • Mood changes - Suddenly disruptive, overly aggressive, prone to outbursts, difficulty dealing with minor challenges, increase nervousness.  Conversely, could seem more passive, worried, or tense.
  • Increase in absences or tardiness to work
  • Recent withdrawal or reluctance to interact with others
  • Slippage in work performance - Changes in work output.  Makes excuses for poor work.  Work is submitted late or incomplete
  • Appears to be unmotivated or having difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in physical appearance - General appearance and personal grooming appears to be slipping

It is important to remember that observance of one or more of these signs does automatically mean that a person has an underlying mental health condition, as they could be indicative of some other physical ailment or related to something entirely different.  However, observance of significant changes in an individual's behavior may be an indicator that your employee is in distress, and it may be worth talking with your employee to ask if everything is OK and if there is anything you can do to help.