This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme this year is anxiety. Anxiety is something which affects millions of people in the UK. However despite how common it is, people still find it difficult to talk about their anxiety, or ask for the support they need.

Anxiety, while very common is very treatable. It’s about knowing where to go for support. In this blog post we will be looking at it from an employer’s perspective of supporting an employee with anxiety. What you can do to help, and where you can signpost people for support.

Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety has a vast range of symptoms which can effect an individual cognitively, emotionally, behaviourally and physically. You may notice an employee starts to withdraw. They may become agitated or become more quiet. Physically you may notice a person is unable to sit still, they may be wringing their hands or sweating. For some people anxiety can cause shortness of breath, chest pains or palpitations. It may also be useful to take not of an employee’s absence record. For many individuals anxiety effects their gut. This could lead to stomach aches, sickness, upset stomach.

Is an individual making mistakes? Are they forgetting things? Do they need regular reassurance about things you know they know well or are familiar with?

These could all indicate that an individual is experiencing anxiety. But how can you help?

Our Top Tips for Supporting an Employee with Anxiety

1) Seek to understand how an individual’s anxiety effects them. We’ve touched on just a small example of some of the symptoms of anxiety but there are many more. Depending on the type of anxiety, the triggers to anxiety and how the individual manages their anxiety, anxiety effects individuals differently. Ask open questions to gain an understanding and take the time to learn about their experience.

2) Ask what you can do to help. For some people just knowing that there is someone who understands, and will be there is they need it can be enough. Never assume the things that will make a difference.

3) Consider reasonable adjustments to support the individual to make their life easier day to day. 2 things to remember with this are:

  • A person’s needs will change over time, just as our mental health fluctuates over time. So what is a support now, may not be what the person needs in the future and so should be reviewed regularly
  • Take care not to help the person avoid the things that cause the anxiety.

4) Signpost the individual to support. Here are some places which may be helpful:

  • Hub of Hope┬áis an online directory of mental health support which can be filtered to your postcode or local area
  • Occupational health
  • Employee Assistance Programme – if this is something you are considering but do not yet have in place we can help you with this by signposting you to one of our expert providers
  • NHS Talking Therapies (formally IAPT) which is a self referral service for any individual experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • GP
  • No Panic are an organisation who specialise in anxiety. There website provides a wealth of information and the resources are incredibly helpful
Maybe we can help too?

At Flourish in Mind we also provide manager training sessions to help empower managers to have the tools and resources they need to help a member of their team. It can be difficult knowing where to go or what to do and our sessions are designed to remove the fear and build confidence.

If you’d like to find out more about how we could help we’d love to hear from you