Supporting Colleagues as a Line Manager

As well as everything previously outlined. It is your duty as a manager to aid in every step of the process. As a line manager you should always keep an eye out for early symptoms of mental health issues. These are not always easy to spot, and even if spotted stopped symptoms from progressing may not be possible. However, the earlier the intervention the high the chance of successful intervention.

Many companies provide EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) services which can provide vital support in these situations. Many of these programmes offer a wide range of services such as counselling, and can even extend to the employee’s family. It is good practice to make employees aware of these services even if they are not having any problems at work. However, providing the employee this imformation early in the process is also a must. EAP services differ per company, so make sure to check out what your own company provides if you are not already aware.

It is important that if an employee does have time off with mental health conditions that you do not cease contact with them. Schedule regular contact to ‘check-in’ with the staff member. This can help ease feeling of isolation and evidence shows that regular contact can help them return to work sooner.

You can also chat with them about how they feel their return to work could be made easier. As a line manager you should aim to make your employees return to work as smooth as possible using any reasonably practicable means. If you are in a position where you can offer things like reduced hours, alternative duties or other means and you feel it would be helpful, explore these options with the employee.

And again, if the employee does express any suicidal ideation at any point of the process take it seriously. You may need to discuss these comments with other relevant people.

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