Time to Talk About Mental Wellbeing

Mental health problems affect as many as one in four of us. Yet too many people are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless if they are experiencing mental wellbeing issues. Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to be more open about mental wellbeing—to talk, to listen, to change lives. If you are a line manager this is a great opportunity to engage with your staff and encourage them to talk about how they feel.

A Time to Change survey revealed that:

  • 60% of people with a mental health problem waited over a year to tell those closest to them about it.
  • 40% of people with a mental health problem experience stigma and discrimination regularly.
  • 90% of people with mental health problems report that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives.

There is no right way to talk about mental wellbeing, line managers can use the tips provided below as a guide to approach these concerns in a positive way:

  1. Frame the conversation
    It can be difficult for people to talk about their mental wellbeing. It is particularly important for line managers to frame conversations appropriately to ensure employees understand where you are coming from. You can start by asking them how they are feeling.

  2. Listen in an active way
    Use open, non-judgemental questions to explore their circumstances and understand what is going on. Be present in the conversation whilst giving them space to express how they feel. You can ask the person how long they have felt like that to better understand the context.

  3. Be supportive
    Try to put yourself in your employee’s shoes and validate their feelings. Even if you don’t fully understand them or don’t agree with them, those are the feelings the person is struggling with. You can offer practical support by asking the person what you can do to help.

  4. Remember you don’t need to have a solution
    When supporting someone it may be tempting to try to solve their problems. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to mental wellbeing. Listening and helping individuals think about what has helped them before can be very supportive. 

Listening to an employee and addressing work-related issues could be all that they need to make progress. However, if signs of distress continue it is important to direct them towards professional support. Please refer to our page on Signposts and Myth Busting for suggested support. It may be helpful to seek advice from your OH and/or HR departments.

We offer Mental Wellbeing Training for Line Managers.

Learn more about how we are supporting mental wellbeing by watching our short video.


Haven’t found what you’re looking for?
Get in touch with our expert for more information.
Michelle O'Sullivan
Tel: 020 3142 5353
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