Lending a hand: How to support a peer going through a mental health crisis

Everyone goes through tough times, but help can arrive in the form of friends, family, or even colleagues. Here are 5 ways you can support a colleague going through a mental health crisis.

Lending a hand: How to support a peer going through a mental health crisis

Friday September 15, 2023,

3 min Read

Trigger warning: This story references mental health concerns.

With a sharp rise in mental health concerns, it becomes crucial to learn how to support those who may be struggling with it. The World Health Organisation, as per recent reports, suggests that India contributes as much as 15% of the world's global mental health burden.

These numbers make it clear that mental health is a serious cause for concern. Here are five ways in which you can support your colleagues who may be going through it.

Make them feel comfortable

Be open to discussions besides being as non-judgemental as you can. By doing so, you are breaking the barrier and making them feel comfortable enough to talk to you about their issues.

Being unable to talk about mental health issues is one among several reasons why smaller issues might spin out of control, thus by addressing the issue right away further complications can also be avoided.

Encourage them to seek professional help

Although you might want to and be able to help make them feel better, sometimes the situation might require professional intervention. In such cases, make them feel comfortable to reach out and seek help from a mental health professional.

Try to be empathetic

As much as possible, try to see things from their perspective. Some issues might seem trivial to you, but they might be a cause for discomfort especially for your colleagues. At times, you might have to initiate the conversation when you feel like one of your peers is experiencing mental health issues. Through this process, make sure to keep the conversation open-ended and allow them to speak at their own pace.

Understand and educate yourself

Once you are aware of the specific mental health issue that someone is facing, try to get to know it a little better by doing your research so that you are better equipped for the situation. This equips you to be able to navigate any situation or future interactions with them better.

By talking to them, you also get to know about their experiences with what they’re dealing with. Do not expect them to explain their situation in detail just because you want to help; sometimes all they need is someone to listen to them. Allow them to share as much as they are comfortable with and be empathetic about their situation.

Provide workplace flexibility

If you are in a position where one of the team members under you is facing issues allow them flexible work hours, days, or the option to choose remote work; whichever helps with their situation. Simultaneously, continue having conversations with them to know more about what they’re going through and help them in any way possible.