Mental and Emotional Health Issues Are Part of Every Company, Including Yours
Okay, if you are part of business in the US, some thirty percent of your work force left in the last year, some for financial improvement, some for benefits and some just leaving, baffling your thoughts. They just walked out or forced you to fire them for no reason that you can understand.
According to experts, ten to fifteen percent of the US workforce have emotional or mental problems that interfere with their work, some daily and some on a non-predictable basis. Sometimes you see these problems and just write them off to “having a bad day”. Other days, you send someone home for the balance of the day to clear their head and come back tomorrow, all charged up and ready to work.
Very few of us in the glass industry are mental health experts. We can sew up a small cut in the field and we can give a couple of days of light-duty to someone that strained their back. Most of us, and I do include myself in this thirty-five years ago when I started managing my fabricator, didn’t think mental health was a product of work relationships or efforts. Fortunately, a lot has been written and taught about this since and many of us have learned.
Here are some behaviors to look at. You should know that every group health policy now includes mental and emotional health as a situation no different than a strained back. This is covered by the group insurance you are already paying for, so make checking with your carrier as your first step in offering your employee or co-worker some help.
Here are some warning signs that your employees may not recognize in themselves. In your own subtle way, suggest an employee get professional aid when these signs appear:
Eating or sleeping too much or too little
Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
Feeling helpless or hopeless
Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried or scared
Feeling numb or like nothing matters
Having low or no energy
Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your of head
Having unexplained aches and pains
Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
Pulling away from people and usual activities
Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
THINKING OF HARMING YOURSELF OR OTHERS
Yelling or fighting with family or friends
Looking back, I can certainly recall events and circumstances that were covered in this list, but not recognized by myself or the management team. Keep these thoughts in mind. Teach them to all of the leaders in your organization. Call a local mental health advisory group and ask for a speaker at your next leadership meeting. Privately, meet with your team to discuss individuals that may fall into the above criteria. DO NOT approach the person the next day. Consult with your insurance company to give you the name of a local provider you can discuss this employee with. When you are fairly sure you have a problem employee, ask the employee to meet with the professional person for an assessment and also advise the employee what your group insurance will cover.
If you ever have an immediate problem at work, and don’t know what to do, call 911 and describe the situation. Almost every police department employs mental health professionals. Another choice is the National Suicide Hot Line, 800-273-8255. Google “Mental Health” and you will see hundreds of providers within your area.
Be sure to contact your insurer and have them visit to do a teaching seminar for your leaders.
And, our afterthought for today: “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end tomorrow. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” Charles Schultz