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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Mental well being at work for managers (part 1 spotting the signs)

Advice for employers

When it comes to improving mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, confident and supportive line managers are essential to create an open and honest culture where employees feel comfortable talking about their mental health.

Unfortunately only 24% of managers have received any kind of mental health training and so it’s not surprising that a survey has shown that less than half of employees with a wellbeing issue raised it with their manager and of those that did raise an issue, over half said it was a negative experience.

Employers have a moral and legal responsibility to understand, assess and tackle employee stress in the workplace.

Managing people’s stress is a crucial part of a preventing people mental health at work and stress risk assessments should be carried out as required by law. Research consistently identifies good-quality people management, particularly by line managers, as one of the core drivers of employee engagement and well-being.

Spotting the signs of stress are key to being able to support staff. However, there is no one symptom or indicator of stress, rather it is the changes in a person’s behaviour, personality and conduct that could signal they are experiencing too much stress leading to poor mental health.

Some of the signs that may indicate a person is under too much stress or pressure include:

  • Changes in their behaviour such as becoming irritable, aggressive and impatient or becoming quiet and withdrawn
  • Becoming more emotional or crying at work
  • Erratic time keeping
  • Working longer hours
  • A drop in productivity
  • Being off sick more often
  • Missing deadlines or unable to cope with the volume or type of work

There is always a reason for changes in people and rather than pull them up on their performance or conduct, try having a conversation with them to see what’s going oin both inside and outside of work and how you can support them.

Some useful resources for managers include:


Download the full presentation here                              Listen to the podcast here