It may be the most wonderful time of the year for some, but for many others, the holidays can cause stress, anxiety and depression — the magic of the season dulled by added family pressure, unrealistic expectations and sentimental memories.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, people often report increased feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and loss around the holidays, and for those with existing mental health issues, the season can make their symptoms much worse.
While some employers might avoid addressing mental health issues in the workplace, seeing it as a sensitive or difficult subject to navigate, it’s important to remember that mental health and physical health hold equal weight. After all, you wouldn’t ignore an employee’s a broken arm. Here are a few signs to look out for in employees:
- Persistent sad and empty mood
- Communicating a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness or pessimism to you or other employees
- Uncharacteristic drop in productivity or increase in absences
- Signs of substance misuse
- Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities
- Disturbances in eating patterns, which may result in noticeable weight loss or gain
- Crying, anxiety or panic attacks
- Fallout from sleep problems, such as tardiness, tiredness or lack of attention to detail on the job
- Irritability, agitation, conflict or anger issues with other employees
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering instructions or making decisions
- Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment
- Veiled or direct talk of suicide to you or fellow workers
While it’s not your job as an employer to diagnose workers exhibiting these signs and symptoms, you may consider reaching out to connect them with the support programs available to them.
When approaching an employee exhibiting signs of depression:
- Be sensitive to their need for privacy by speaking with them away from other workers.
- Start with a focus on performance issues you may have noticed, let them know this is unusual for them, and that you’re concerned about their well-being. Avoid asking about personal issues or depression directly, but let them know you’re available to listen.
- Be compassionate, and let them know that they are valued.
- If your company provides an Employee Assistance Program, tell them about the program or provide them with the number and/or brochure.
Mercy Urgent Care understands the need for accessible, affordable mental healthcare in Western North Carolina, which is why we are pleased to now offer mental health services through the Mercy Mindful program.
Mercy Mindful can provide your employees with psychiatric evaluations and medication management for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, eating disorders and substance abuse. We also provide trauma-informed care and referrals for specialized testing, if appropriate.
Mercy Mindful appointments are available to patients 16 and older by request or referral at our West Asheville location. To learn more about how Mercy Mindful can help your company, contact Jon Medin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828.252.3443.
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness, Cigna, CDC