5 Ways to Improve the Mental Health of Those Around You.
Mental health has become very topical recently.
What you may not be aware of, is that according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 54% of people with mental illness do not access any treatment.
People often fear being judged for having a mental health issue. They may be reluctant to talk about things or may try to cover up the way they feel – especially if the workplace is contributing to the stress!
So what can you do if you are concerned about someone?
Humans are social beings. We NEED connection to others. Unfortunately many people lack connection, in fact, loneliness is becoming epidemic and 30% of Australians don’t ever feel part of a group of friends.
Ask them if they are OK. Do they want to talk? Do they need company or to be alone? Aim to be interested in them rather than worrying about being interesting!
2. Take Notice
Stop and think before you react to someone. Ask yourself, what might be behind a harsh word or short temper? Could that person be under stress? Tell them you are sensing they are feeling sad/angry/out of sorts. Look for signs that they are acting differently from normal.
3. Encourage Activity
Ask them to join you in an exercise you enjoy. Even a simple walk with a coffee, whilst they may feel they don’t want to, actually is proven to change the body chemistry and can make people feel better. In fact, any kind of movement like just sitting up straighter or forming a more powerful body pose will change their physiology.
Attention is the most valuable thing you can give anyone in this crazy ‘attention seeking and demanding’ world. By sharing your time, expertise or even muscle power you can show that person you care about them. Ask them to join you at the lunch table at work. Sit with them and enjoy their favourite TV show.
Look for ways to do something nice for them. Their favourite coffee when they least expect it. A simple text message checking in with them. Appreciate and thank them for their efforts and contributions.
Whilst you can never force a change in someone else, as we are all ultimately responsible for ourselves, by constantly employing these techniques you WILL contribute to helping others by removing some of the triggers of isolation and withdrawal. Now more than ever we need to look beyond the Instagram picture perfect post and keep asking “R U OK?”.
Jo O’Donovan is the founder of Workplace Relationships, based in Melbourne. She works with companies to increase their productivity through focusing on their culture, people and relationships. Jo has a particular passion for improving the mental health of employees through developing the human connections within organisations and her new online course on Mental Health In The Workplace can be accessed here.
Are you a manager who needs to know how to have a mental health conversation? Access our manager course here
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