Mental health | Is your colleague at risk of a nervous breakdown? Watch out for these signs

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Depression or anxiety can impact a person’s energy and focus levels [Representative image]| Photo credit: iStock images

For most professionals, 2020 has been a never-ending obstacle course. First came the pandemic, followed by stalled projects, business closures and pay cuts. As people started to adjust to working remotely, unread emails and conference call invitations piled up. And the work-life balance has completely gone out the window.

As workplace mental health returns to the forefront in these stressful times, here are 3 signs that someone you work with is on the verge of burnout or depression.

Sudden mood swings

If a coworker who is generally energetic and positive seems exhausted, upset, or irritable for no clear reason, this could be a warning sign.

“I keep it simple by using a three-part framework to look for signs: the physical, the mental and the emotional. Any deviation from the baseline may suggest a change in its condition. It can be something as simple as a coworker not to shave or take care of their physical appearance, or it could be starting to use much more abusive language and aggressive behavior on team calls. ”

Dr Marcus Ranney, Wellness Champion

Concentration and productivity issues

Depression or anxiety can impact a person’s energy and focus levels. If your coworker is struggling with even routine tasks, he or she may be overwhelmed or near exhaustion. The deterioration in the quality of an individual’s work or productivity is not only a challenge for the employee; this can lead to conflict within the larger team if left unchecked.

Substance addiction

Many people use substances like alcohol or drugs as crutches to cope with stress. If a colleague is struggling with an addiction, there may be warning signs such as increased absenteeism or lateness, impaired quality of work, changes in mood or behavior, for example aggression. , irritability, daytime sleepiness or social withdrawal.

How to reach out

People feel more and more vulnerable during the crisis, so whether you are a teammate or a manager, lead with kindness. Here are a few tips.

  • Have an open-hearted conversation. Dr. Marcus says, “Start by asking the question, ‘How are you really doing? This extra word can open the frame and encourage a colleague to share. He adds that it is important to first make sure that a “safe and trusted space” has been created for the conversation.
  • Perform regular “checks” with the affected employee.
  • If the person reports to you, ask if there is anything you can do to ease the pressure: for example, giving them flexible hours or giving them paid time off.
  • Make sure the person stays connected with the team and doesn’t feel isolated.
  • Offer to put them in touch with a company-facilitated counselor or psychiatrist or a third party who can provide expert help.

With today’s workforce distribution, we must all be vigilant and ensure the psychological well-being of our colleagues. Remember the ACT mantra: recognize the signs; Choose the right words; and talk about it. For mentally healthy and energized workplaces, it’s time for all of us to #ActNow.

Written in partnership with Champion of Well-being, Dr Marcus Ranney. Times Bridge is the global investment and partnership arm of The Times Group. A unique position as a venture capital, advisory and operating partner for determined companies around the world, giving partners a decisive advantage in bringing their mission to the world’s largest open consumer market. Some of its portfolio brands: Business Insider, Advertising and Media Insider, and The Weather Channel, Headspace, MUBI, Smule, Wattpad, StackOverflow and more.


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