e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Vital Information for Employees


Has this happened to you? A co-worker, someone you really like, is having trouble on the job. Taking lots of unexplained breaks. Absent without a good reason. Looking worried, listless. You want to help but you really aren't sure how. You're afraid to ask. And then your coworker leaves for good. And you wish there was something you could have done.

Or are you that co-worker? Having difficulty with emotional issues, feel yourself getting down, but afraid to ask for help, or share your problems, hoping against hope no one notices.

A productive company depends on an open and positive workplace culture. Sadly, one in five workers here in the U.S. will be affected by a mental illness in any given year. That doesn't count the workers who are responsible for a loved one or family member with a mental illness.

Most people who do seek help are able to improve their quality of life and continue working productively. But that takes support! The people who need help too often fear the consequences of disclosure. Science has proved mental illness, like heart disease or diabetes, is a treatable health issue. Still, the stigma surrounding mental illness often prevents people from seeking the help they need.

That's where you come in. Every single employee can play a vital role in shaping workplace attitudes and creating a stigma-free environment. You can promote anti-discrimination just by the way you treat a colleague, work as a team, and get involved in initiatives that promote positive health and wellbeing. If you are someone who is struggling yourself, then you know how important these things are.

Here are four things you can do in your workplace:

  1. Be a role model and promote the kind of culture that inspires people to do their best;
  2. Encourage your co-worker to seek support;
  3. If you feel comfortable, share your own personal experience of a mental illness.
  4. Report instances of discrimination

If you suspect a colleague is struggling with mental illness, it's not helpful to pressure them to "just to get over it," or assume their problem will just go away.

You have many ways to support a colleague who is living with mental illness or caring for a family member with mental illness. Listening, just listening, is more important than anything else, without making judgments, and being open to learning more about mental illness. Encouraging open dialogue in the workplace will help reduce stigma.

For more information on signs of mental health issues, visit https://namisyracuse.org/

*information by HeadsUp.org/au & Stamp Out Stigma