If you are working in HR, you know the multiple challenges accompanying the occupation. An employee struggling with mental illness is one such challenge. HR personnel must receive proper education regarding mental illness to prevent their initial reactions from being harmful. The idea is to avoid the typical responses and the assumptions that the employee might be putting others at risk or that the employee is incapable of performing the job, which is incorrect. Addressing mental health can be complicated, but there are steps HR professionals can take to handle these issues.

Remove the Stigma

Although not fully understood, mental health issues are common. Sadly, many never receive treatment due to fear of repercussions, cost, or having their mental illness go undiagnosed. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for employees who admit to having a mental health challenge to experience adverse reactions. The stigma surrounding mental health is due to misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and misinformation, making it difficult for employees to ask for help. You can begin addressing mental health by eliminating the stigma surrounding it by helping those with mental health concerns educate themselves and those in the workforce.

Increase Mental Health Awareness

Teach your workforce the basics of mental health challenges as you dispel the myth that people with mental health conditions are dangerous. Awareness helps to create a safer environment for those who are struggling. Consider educating your team about non-judgmental phrasing, a stigma-free way to discuss mental health. There must not be just conversation, but the proper conversation around mental health.

Provide Mental Health Resources

As an HR specialist, you can teach about mental health. However, you must understand that only experts can treat and diagnose mental health disorders. There is a great deal of nuance, and it is best to leave this to professionals. You can, unfortunately, do more harm than good.

You can provide the resources to employees. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) can offer the best approaches when a team member is struggling with mental health. Telephone consultations and referrals can help start your employees off in the right direction.

A return to work program is an excellent way to ease someone into their routine after taking time for their health. Allowing personalized work hours with the option to work from home or other flexible arrangements can positively impact employee productivity.


It is difficult to understand the feelings if you have never experienced mental health issues. Let an employee know that you know they are struggling and that you wish to help. An ear to listen is essential, especially if the employee fears repercussions. Of course, you cannot solve everyone’s mental health problems, but you can help them on their healing journey.

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