Mental Health at Work: Recognising what is Hidden
It is mental health awareness week, and Research tells us that 2 out of 3 people experience a mental health issue at some time. The tell-tale signs of injury to physical health are usually obvious. But what about mental health? How easy is it to recognise the signs of worsening mental health? How can we spot the signs in ourselves and in others? As a manager, how can I tell if my team are affected? Or, could I even tell someone, if it was me that was suffering? In this article I’m going to look at the challenges for recognising the signs of worsening mental health and offer some practical suggestions.
Spotting the Signs
There a wide variety of resources suggesting a similar checklist of potential signs or symptoms of mental health problems. Signs which include:
- poor concentration or being easily distracted
- finding it hard to make decisions
- feeling less interested in day-to-day activities
- low mood or tearfulness
- feeling overwhelmed by things
- tiredness and lack of energy
- finding it difficult to control your emotions; irritability, aggression and short temper
On the surface, it seems clear, as we have a checklist of indicators. Some of the signs, would be easy to spot in others: for example, being tearful or more irritable, would be self-evident in the workplace. However, some of the other indicators are more likely to be experienced rather than be observed.
So how could we notice a mental health struggle, which is essentially internal. Well, an obvious answer is to ask. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. When we do ask someone how they are feeling, or about their mental health, it could be unlikely that they will be candid.
Shame, fear and embarrassment, these are all common feelings associated with a mental health problem. They can become real barriers to people truly admitting they are struggling.
No Really… I’m fine
Just as it is hard to see all of the signs of a mental health problem in others, it can be equally hard to notice the signs in ourselves. It’s easy for me to notice changes in my physical health. But not so easy for me to notice changes in my mental health? The very thing I am using to check my mental health, my mind, is also the very thing which could be affected by it.
I know, from my own experience, when I encountered my own mental health challenges, I was very reluctant to speak to my manager at work. Fear that I would be seen as weak, incapable or worse, unreliable, all stopped me from saying anything. However, when things inevitably came to a head, I actually received a lot of support.
If it is difficult for managers to spot the signs, and we struggle to admit difficulties to ourselves and our managers, what happens then? Often, the internal struggles continue, as with my own experience, only coming to the surface when they reach a crisis point. In other words, mental health problems only become truly visible, when they breach our internal struggle and spill over into the workplace.
Wouldn’t it be better if we could track, or indeed prevent a mental health problem sooner, before it becomes a major issue?
Psychometrics have been used for recognising talent, aptitudes, creativity, problem solving style, personality and IQ and emotional intelligence. Can we dip into the psychometric tool kit to find ways to identify and recognise the signs of good and poor mental health?
MindQ is a confidential and secure mental health and wellbeing assessment. MindQ assessment provides individuals with a profile of their current mental health, with a personalised insight into 3 key areas:
- Their Life Satisfaction
- Their Resilience
- Their Emotional Health
Reports are confidential, not only providing an assessment of the three dimensions above, but also offering some useful suggestions on how to strengthen and improve each area. It is recommended that individuals complete the assessment 3 times per year, so that changes in mental health can be quickly identified.
MindQ – The Benefits to Mental Health & Well-being
Taking Charge of my Mental Health
Getting a personalised report can help people to feel more in control of their own mental health. Ownership of my mental health is a much more proactive approach. When framed in this way we can begin to understand and manage our own mental wellbeing.
The confidential approach can avoid the shame and potential stigma often associated with mental health. Individuals are also more likely to be more candid in their responses, when they know the report is confidential.
Track and follow Improvements to Mental Health
Rather than seeing mental health as good or bad, individuals can now track changes to the state of mental health. Just as fitness apps track changes over time, MindQ provides individuals with the data to see the changes in their mental health.
Directed to Support, rather than asking for help
Resources, suggestions and advice for improving mental health are built into the report. Directing people towards the help they need an be more effective, than waiting for people to ask for help.
Potential for Earlier Intervention
Rather than waiting for a mental health problem to spill over into the workplace, regular MindQ assessment can highlight potential warning signs in advance. Each report flags up potential areas of concern, which are fedback by qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or similarly qualified professionals. Sometimes minor changes, early on can prevent larger problems from developing.
Find out more
MindQ is now in the suite of Psyence tools at Dove Nest group, and we never charge for exploratory conversations – so if this is something you would be interested in exploring, call us on 015395 67878, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.dovenest.co.uk.