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Published: 2 month

How to support a stressed colleague - advice from a mental health expert

Nine out of ten workers in the UK have experienced high or extreme levels of pressure and stress in the past year, according to a recent survey. An expert has put together a list of ways we can actively help our employees.

Hogyan támogassuk a stresszel küzdő kollégát? - Ezt tanácsolja a mentálhigiénés szakértő-

Statistics show that in the modern world, the likelihood of work-related stress, depression and anxiety has increased significantly.

A report by Mental Health UK, Burnout Report 2024, warned that the UK is on the verge of becoming a "burnt-out nation", with nine in 10 adults saying they have experienced high or extreme levels of stress and distress in the past year, HR News reports.

With this in mind, Michelle Robinson Hayes, a mental health trainer and head of preventive services at Vita Health Group, shared 11 tips on how to support a colleague who is struggling with stress without becoming overwhelmed ourselves.

1. Express concern and empathy

Begin the conversation with a colleague by expressing our genuine concern for their well-being. Use empathic statements to let them know that we understand they are going through a difficult time.

2. Actively listen

Let them share their feelings and concerns without interruption.

3. Affirmation

Let them know that it is perfectly acceptable for them to feel the way they do. Avoid dismissing their feelings and offer immediate solutions to their problems.

4. Encourage open communication

Create a safe and non-judgmental space for them to express themselves. Encourage them to share their thoughts and concerns openly

5. Offer practical help

Ask your colleague if there is anything specific we can do to help alleviate their stress - help with tasks, share workload and provide useful resources. Be specific in offering help to show a genuine commitment!

6. Suggest resources

Offer resources that can help him or her better cope with stress, such as your company's employee assistance program (EAP), a counseling service, or a stress management workshop.

7. Respecting boundaries

Be respectful of the comfort level of those involved and do not force them to share more than they are comfortable with. Respect their need for privacy and confidentiality.

8. Encourage self-care

Emphasise the importance of self-care and breaks. Suggest activities or strategies that promote wellbeing, such as exercise or meditation

9. Check up on them regularly

Regularly check in to see how they are doing. Let them know that they are constantly supported and that they can come to us whenever they need it.

10. Notify the appropriate support channels when necessary

If their stress levels seem very severe or they feel they may be putting themselves or others at risk, consider informing management or HR. If we believe there is an immediate threat to life, contact emergency services.

11. Be flexible and adaptable

Everyone reacts differently to stress. Let's aim to create a supportive environment that encourages your colleagues to seek help.

Knowing how to support a colleague who is struggling with stress can make a big difference to their wellbeing. But it's important that helping your colleague doesn't come at the expense of your own mental health," says the expert.

HR News

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