How To Manage Employees With Mental Health Issues?

As a caring employer who wants the best for their employees, you must be asking yourself how to approach managing employees with mental health issues.

Well, we have prepared all the answers for you!

Besides being aware of mental health issues, you will also have to undertake certain steps to provide your employees with the support they need and deserve. As your goal should be to create a mental health-friendly workplace, employees with mental health issues will be able to thrive and succeed in what they do.

mental health

Managing An Employee With Mental Health Issues

Here are the steps you should undertake when dealing with employees with mental health issues.

Educate Yourself

Every individual today has a mental health status. It is not uncommon for people to have mental health issues and disorders, such as depression and anxiety. As your employees might be affected by mental health issues, it is important to know the symptoms of these conditions – such as poor concentration, decreased energy, loss of interest, and more. That way, you will be able to identify and acknowledge the problem and be able to help your employees who are suffering from mental health issues.

Educate Yourself

Offer Them A Flexible Schedule

As sleep problems are often a part of dealing with mental health, a flexible schedule may be a reasonable accommodation to offer and approve any of your staff dealing with mental health problems. What is more, a flexible schedule may increase their productivity while helping them nurture their body and mind. However, it is also recommended to set structure for those employees, so that they know which days of the week they should definitely be in office. Finally, also ensure that you do not isolate those employees despite having them work flexibly.

Make Workloads More Simple

To approach managing staff with mental health issues successfully, you might want to make their workloads less demanding. You can do that by breaking up bigger projects into smaller tasks so that your employees suffering from mental health conditions find them less complicated or overwhelming. By helping them to succeed, you will also cultivate positive work experiences and help your staff perceive their environment in a positive manner.

Make Workloads More Simple

Manage Deadlines

Setting too many deadlines for work projects can overwhelm anyone, especially someone suffering from anxiety, depression, or other types of mental health issues. It is crucial to share only needed deadlines with employees who have mental health issues. Otherwise, they might feel even more stressed and it will increase their negative emotions. By reducing the stressors, you will also reduce negative emotions.

Focus On The Positive

Criticize less. Depressed and anxious people are probably being highly self-critical as it is. Instead of communicating their failures, highlight their achievements. Help motivate your staff. You can do so by explaining what positive they are doing by accomplishing a task, rather than scaring them with the costs of unfinished ones. Each one of your employees has its strengths and giving them tasks that align with those will help with their positive experience.

Focus On The Positive

Show Yourself As A Leader

Suffering from mental health issues is mostly an everyday struggle. As a manager, you are there to help them work to their best ability. Being proactive and sharing Employee Assistance Programs with your staff will keep you in the loop, by showing them that you are there for them when they struggle. After all, your goal should be to create a positive working environment so that each and every employee can showcase their skills that result in better outcomes.

Steps You Should Take To Ensure A Mental Health-Friendly Workplace

Be Proactive

Do not stigmatize your employees for having mental health issues. Ensure that HR and cooperative emails communicate about mental health so that your employees don’t feel alone. Offer support and resources for those affected to help them cope as the best approach to managing employees with mental health issues. Also, connect to those employees. Communicate with them at the workplace, smile, and socialize. That way, you are giving them support in case they are experiencing stress and other mental health problems at work.

Be Proactive

(Virtual) Water Cooler Talk

Going to the water cooler in the office with a colleague usually means discussing the weather or some other such topic. Now, if you are working in the office, these instants will help colleagues relax thanks to the human connection. If instead, you are working remotely, you can still create these moments by chatting to your employees regularly about non-work-related content online.

The Power Of Listening

If the company’s budget is tight when it comes to extended resources you can offer to staff battling with mental health issues, there is still something you can offer them. You can listen. Being supportive of your employees’ needs and actively listening with empathy will remove the aura of stigmatization away from staff suffering from mental illness. Your workplace wellbeing strategy will benefit both you and your staff to create a positive working environment.

(Virtual) Water Cooler Talk

Personal Adjustments

As common as mental health issues are, individuals still cope with them differently. While some might ask to make adjustments to their workplaces and jobs, others might need time to go to their therapy appointments, etc. As an employer, it is your task to ensure a smooth process of work and return to work to all of your employees.

Mental Health Day Off Work

Is it okay to take a mental health day from work for your employees? It should be! Most of the companies offer paid time off so that every employee can take a day off when needed. Many employees are scared to take sick days to deal with their mental health. Ensure that this is not the case in your company. Show support and aid. Moreover, do not hesitate to encourage your employees to take a mental health day off work if they need it.

Employee Assistance & Accommodation

Employee Assistance & Accommodation

Employee assistance, such as fitness programs and stress management training can help staff suffering from mental health issues. Build awareness and remove the stigma from the mental ill-health in your workplace as a way of employee assistance. When managing staff with mental illness, also make sure that you offer them accommodation such as breaks, removing distractions from the workplace, allowing beverages and food, and other similar things that could help with their productivity.


When managing employees with mental health issues, it is important to take the right stance. That way, you will be able to support the staff and enable the best working conditions for everyone. Offering work adjustments and resources will be of great help to the employees and the business. If you understand your responsibilities as an employer you can offer your employees the rights they deserve for the best quality of life. For a friendly environment, also ensure that you are dealing properly with toxic worker types.

Mateja is a journalist with a Master’s degree. After graduating in 2019, she started writing copies for various websites before she joined the OfficeNeedle team in 2021. So far, she has built relationships with industry leaders and experts in the field that help her focus on writing useful tips for businesses. She enjoys writing informative pieces and doing research on businesses, as well as conducting surveys. She hopes her tips and other types of posts can help you kickstart your own business and stay alert to better adapt to any changes in the field.