Signs of mental health problems to look out for

mental health therapy

Not everyone feels comfortable openly discussing their mental health struggles, particularly at work.

However, these problems often manifest themselves in other ways, so it can be useful to know the signs to look out for that could indicate someone is having difficulties, allowing you to initiate a conversation and offer support.

Employers have a duty of care to their employees and should proactively care for their mental health.

Identifying signs of mental health issues and intervening to offer help and support can catch problems before they intensify, helping to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace, which benefits both the individual employee and the organisation.

Five signs of mental health problems to look out for

Not everyone displays outward signs of mental health issues, but there are often indications that someone might be struggling. Recognising these signs requires awareness and understanding.

Some common mental health signs to look out for include:

  • Changes in behaviour or mood – Look for uncharacteristic changes in mood or behaviour. This could include increased irritability, angry or emotional outbursts, or a noticeable decline in enthusiasm and energy.
  • Changes in performance or focus – A sudden change in an employee’s quality of work or productivity or an uncharacteristic lack of focus could be a sign of mental health issues.
  • Withdrawing from social activities – If you notice that someone who is normally social and engaged starts to withdraw from team activities or avoid social interactions, it could be a red flag.
  • Visible signs of stress or anxiety – Stress and anxiety can manifest in various physical symptoms like excessive fatigue, nervousness, or signs of restlessness.
  • Consistently being late or absent – Repeatedly turning up to work late or taking lots of sick days could be a sign that someone is struggling to manage stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.

Recognising these mental health signs at work is the first step towards intervening and offering employees the support they need.

Ideally, businesses should employ mental health first aiders in the workplace. Mental health first aiders act as the first point of contact for employees with mental health problems or concerns. They are trained individuals with an understanding of mental health conditions and the signs and symptoms that could point to an employee struggling with their mental health. Mental health first aiders provide crucial support and guidance for workplace mental health.

At Care Business Associates, we run a popular training course for mental health first aiders. The FAA Level 3 Award in Supervising First Aid for Mental Health (RFQ) teaches individuals how to identify mental health conditions and provide mental health first aid at work. For more information about this course or to find out about similar courses we run, call our team on 01772 816 922 or email