January Blues or Something More Serious?

The decorations are down, the tree is on the compost heap and the turkey is a distant memory. At this time of year many of us hear—and probably say—“I’m feeling down”.

As an employer, how can we spot the difference between an employee who is feeling a little less happy that the New Year’s Eve champagne bottles are in the recycle bin and those who are truly suffering from depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder or another mental health issue?

The honest answer is: the difference is not obvious to the untrained eye. There are a number of forms of mental health impairment; how it is presented, how it affects the sufferer and its impact on the organisation. Of course, as caring organisations we all want to support anyone who may be suffering from a mental health issue at work or at home.

We would always recommend an informal welfare meeting with any employee who you feel is suffering from a mental health issue, followed by an Occupational Health Assessment.

Few of us are qualified to make a safe, comprehensive or decisive evaluation on what we should offer an employee in these circumstances. A welfare meeting demonstrates your concern for your employee and an Occupational Health Assessment can get to the root of the issue.

The OH Assessment may recommend reasonable adjustments if the business can support them.

Reasonable adjustments can range from limited duties, reduced working hours and pattern to a change in work location, or anything in-between. The purpose is to support the employee as best you can along with taking into account the practicalities from a business perspective.

Regular welfare meetings and reasonable adjustments can have an impact on absence as the employee may feel more able to cope at work: a positive for both employee and employer.

Should you have any questions feel free to reach out to our help line. DLP advisors are available to answer any questions you may have—24 hours a day—at 0330 400 4454.

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