Supporting your employees’ mental health through the Winter bluesDecember 4, 2018
We’ve made our way into December and there’s only a couple of weeks until Christmas now. And while many are excited, some are facing the hardest months of the year ahead. Mental health issues can be exacerbated at this time of the year for a number of reasons, and it is important that employers provide support to workers experiencing those problems.
But on the day to day of a busy office, it can be hard to identify issues like those, so it is key to understand the most common conditions and its triggers and symptoms:
Seasonal Affective Disorder
A known condition that is related to this time of the year is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is triggered by the change of seasons, with shorter and darker days and colder weather and symptoms include:
- persistent low mood
- loss of pleasure/interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal/finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
In the UK, up to 6% of adults have ‘recurrent major depressive episodes with seasonal pattern’ – which means they experience symptoms so severe that these people are unable to work or function normally.
Christmas and Mental Health
For those with a pre-existing mental health condition such as SAD or depression, things that seem simple, like joining in the fun of Christmas celebrations can generate a lot of anxiety – and when they feel unable to do so, it can create a feeling of isolation. The interruption of a regular routine can also worsen mental health disorders and with the Christmas break approaching that is a cause for concern too.
How to help and support employees:
Ensuring employees feel supported if they are going through mental health challenges can boost engagement and loyalty to the company, enhancing staff retention (we have written about that on a previous blog post and on a whitepaper too), and here’s a few things you can do to help:
- Have a mental health first aider in the office
- Create a culture of openness where employees can open up about mental health struggles
- Develop an action plan and make the necessary adjustment for workers who need support
- Allow for time off for doctors’ appointments
How can Hive360 help you support your staff:
Through our Pay & Perks Mobile Portal, workers can access a 24/7 telephone counselling service and talk to certified professionals. The specialists can help them with a range of issues, from addiction to marital problems and more. The service is confidential and free of charge.employee benefits, Employee Engagement, Employee Welfare, Employee Wellbeing, Hive360 app, HR, Mental health, perks