Mental Health: How to Broach this Serious Topic with Employees

Industrial woman engineer or factory worker wearing helmet and hygiene face mask with teamwork stand in line-c,

It’s tough to find an area – either personally or socially – that hasn’t been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But while tumbling industries, crashing markets, and falling unemployment numbers are highly visible, there are other ramifications that are going on behind-the-scenes.

Mental health has just recently come into the spotlight as people come to grips with a silent yet detrimental result of the pandemic: depression. According to Boston University, the country’s depression rate has increased three times recently. This means that over 1-in-4 adults are suffering from symptoms of depression related to COVID.

Here, we’ll take a look at how employers can broach this serious yet sensitive topic with their employees to create a healthier and more supportive environment.

Create a stigma-free environment.

Even though countless Americans struggle with depression and other mental-health conditions, there’s still a social stigma surrounding them. Helping to create a stigma-free space where team members feel comfortable sharing their personal struggles is one of the most important steps employers can take to help alleviate some of the pressure around this topic. When employees feel that the work environment is a supportive, open, and friendly atmosphere, they’ll be more likely to talk about mental health issues openly and honestly. This can help keep team members from feeling isolated and unsupported.

Lend an ear.

As a supervisor, you genuinely care about your team’s well-being both inside and outside of the workplace. While you can’t provide the trained services of a mental health professional, you can lend an ear whenever employees need time to talk. Sometimes, just having someone listen intently for a few minutes is all an employee may need to feel better. If you feel it’s appropriate, you can recommend staff members speak with a professional. However, there are times when a few minor changes in the workplace can make a real difference.

Be willing to make adjustments.

In the construction industry, minor physical injuries happen from time to time. As a manager, you have no problem accommodating employees when they’re hurt. From reducing working days or hours to switching tasks that are easier to do, you don’t mind being flexible when injuries strike. As mental well-being is just as important as physical health, employees can try to be as accommodating for issues that aren’t physical in nature. If a team member needs time away to see a mental health professional, give them the time off. This flexibility and support can create a sense of trust and goodwill while also possibly speeding up the recovery process.

Limit workplace stressors.

While work can have a lot of mental health advantages, it can also be a cause of some problems. As an employer, you’re responsible for your team’s well-being – both physically and mentally. If you come to learn that workplace stressors are worsening an employee’s depression or anxiety, it’s vital to take steps to mitigate or, if possible, remove these causes. Maybe there’s a conflict between team members that can’t seem to cooperate, or perhaps the high demands of an in-depth project are becoming too much. No matter the problem, it’s management’s responsibility to find ways to limit stressors at the workplace.

Invite an expert to speak.

Depression and its side effects are dense subjects that are intricate, complicated, and sensitive. Naturally, many employers feel out of their element when talking about these heavy topics with staff members. An excellent way to make sure the right messages are getting across in an accurate and careful manner is to have a professional speak at the workplace. It’s a great opportunity for everyone involved in your organization to become more familiar with depression, what causes it, warning signs, and how to handle it.


If you’re looking for more successful strategies to build and maintain a great team, check out our employer news section that’s consistently updated with informative content. Looking for top-tier talent? Madden Crafstmen has you covered there too. Visit our site to submit a custom job order or to find more helpful resources. Let’s build something.