Five Ways to Support a Colleague with Mental Health Issues

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Mental health issues are one of the biggest concerns for employees worldwide. There are different causes of mental health issues at the workplace, including heavy workload, poor relationships with employers or colleagues, and long working hours. All these factors can lead to mental fatigue and stress that also affect the performance of employees and their overall health. In such situations, a huge responsibility lies with colleagues to support their co-workers dealing with mental health issues. Nobody knows the root cause of the mental health issues at the workplace better than them.

According to a study, one in ten people takes leaves due to mental health issues. Employees who take leave due to depression or mental health problems should be treated the same way as those who take leave for physical health issues. It can be difficult for a person to share mental health issues with an employer or a colleague. Without further ado, let’s find out how to support a colleague with mental health issues.

Encourage them to Take Support

Firstly, you need to encourage individuals dealing with mental health issues to get help from a professional expert. You may help them find a counselor or mental health expert. Also, you need to look for experienced and highly-qualified individuals. If you are passionate about serving people dealing with mental health issues, you can also opt for relevant qualifications. To manage a full-time job with studies, you can consider leveraging virtual education platforms.

In that case, CSWE accredited online MSW programs could be the right fit for you. It would be great if you could provide professional assistance to colleagues. Also, you can motivate your co-worker to get support from the workplace. Top companies offer programs and benefits for their employees who face issues like mental depression. But it is important to let employers know about these issues so that they can take action accordingly.

It is not right to force your colleague to get mental health support. But you can encourage them to share these issues with the management. The relationship of the employees with management matters a lot in such situations. If they have a good relationship with the manager, they can trust them and share their mental state. It is also important to let the HR department know about the situation as they are an integral part of the management.

Encourage them to Share Issues

One of the biggest drawbacks of having mental health issues is that people hesitate to share their problems. You need to reassure your co-workers that to overcome depression or mental anxiety, they need to start sharing. They must know that they do not have to feel any embarrassment in speaking about their mental health issues. It is the same as speaking about physical health issues.

It is important to make co-workers comfortable with you so that they can share everything without any hesitation. To make them comfortable, you can start talking about their general well-being. Make them understand that you are always there for them, and they might start trusting you. Also, mental health issues can vary from person to person, so you need to focus on the person and what is the root cause of their issue.

You have to make your colleagues understand that staying silent will not resolve their issues. It will only complicate things, so they need to be open about their mental health.

Treat them with Respect

Due to the stigma linked to mental health issues, it is never easy for co-workers to share their mental health problems. It can be hard for them initially to accept your help; therefore, you need to treat them with respect and make them realize that you understand their issues. It will help you develop a good relationship with them as understanding and respect are the foundation of any support for a troubled colleague.

You have to keep in mind certain factors to not make your acts appear disrespectful. For example, you need to watch your language and be careful with your choice of words. Also, you should not jump to conclusions right away and make assumptions. Dig deep down and try to find the root cause of the mental fatigue of your co-worker. The condition of every individual is different, so it is better not to judge anyone. Do not try to guess what symptoms or experiences might have affected your colleague’s life.

Respect their Privacy

You need to put effort into creating a supportive and open working environment. But when it comes to mental health issues, you need to respect the confidentiality of the individuals facing mental health problems. Such matters are very sensitive, and you need to pass their information only to the relevant people who can help them. Any negligence in this regard can cause a breach of trust and will worsen the individual’s mental state.

Also, there is a big responsibility on employers as they need to address the issues of employees by taking care of their privacy. A privacy breach can put the reputation of the organization at stake.

Be a Responsible Colleague

In many cases, it is not easy for individuals to come up and speak about their mental health issues. If you are aware of the individuals facing such issues, you can speak on their behalf. You can let the management know about the situation of the particular individual. It will help them take necessary steps to help the employees overcome mental health issues at the workplace. For example, they can change their working hours or reduce their workload, which can play a key role in reducing their stress levels.

It is also crucial for employers to get educated about different aspects of mental health. This way, they will know what steps they have to take to help their employees.


Mental health issues among employees are one of the biggest problems in workplaces. It affects the overall health of employees and their performance and overall productivity. As a responsible colleague, you need to take the right steps to provide emotional and moral support to your co-worker dealing with mental health problems. Also, employers need to understand their responsibility as employees’ mental health will eventually impact the operational efficiency of their company.

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