Episode 4 – Early Warning Signs

THE PROBLEM
The boss has advised Dave that he needs to work with Dr Peter Cotton to look into poor mental health in the company, as it’s important to spot the early warning signs and take preventative steps.

In this episode Dave learns how to spot the early warning signs of mental health issues. He fantasises about being a self-help guru on TV, but Dr Cotton assures him it’s not about being a counsellor or psychologist. Dave gets practical tips about how to have conversations with team members showing signs of mental health issues.

Dr Cotton’s top tips

Look for these early warning signs:

  • Workers may have trouble sleeping
  • Are tired and grumpy
  • Previously social employees are withdrawn
  • A worker, or their desk, has suddenly become untidy

Managers aren’t counsellors but they can:

  • Start a discussion with the worker
  • Check in regularly
  • Maintain a wellbeing focus – not a job performance one

RATE YOUR WORKPLACE: EARLY WARNING SIGNS CHECKLIST (PDF)

Further reading

Comcare – Early intervention
http://www.comcare.gov.au/early_intervention

Australian Public Service Commission – Talking about mental health
http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/mental-health/talking
24 July 2013