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The Manager's Role in Employee Mental Health

Mental health affects how we think, feel, and interact with the world around us. Therefore, employee mental health should be a priority in every workplace. Unfortunately, it's not always the case, and the role of managers in contributing to poor mental health cannot be ignored.

The Workforce Institute at UKG Survey (2022) reveals that managers have as much impact on employees' mental health as their spouses (confirmed by 69% of workers), and less than their doctor (51%) or even therapist (41%).

Managers play a crucial role in ensuring employee mental health in the workplace. They are responsible for creating a positive work environment and setting expectations that are both reasonable and achievable. Yet, according to UKG Survey about 38% of employees expressed that they rarely or never communicate with their manager about work-related stress. The reason behind this could be that some individuals think their manager would not care (16%) or is too preoccupied (13%), while others believe that they should deal with it independently (20%).

So why do these issues arise? Managers may have unrealistic expectations, be ignorant towards employee concerns, lack communication, or provide no work-life balance. These factors can have a significant impact on how an employee's mental health is viewed and managed.

It is crucial for managers to take supportive action to ensure employee mental health. Creating a positive work environment, promoting work-life balance, encouraging open communication, providing mental health resources and support, and developing reasonable expectations are just a few ways managers can make a positive impact.

By prioritizing employee mental health, managers can create a workplace culture where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated. This is not only beneficial for the employees but also for the organization as a whole.

Signs of employee mental health issues

As a manager, it is essential to recognize the signs of poor mental health in employees before they escalate. One of the most apparent signs is an increase in absenteeism. Although employees may use sick days to manage personal issues, an excessive number of absent days may indicate a bigger problem. Another sign is a decrease in productivity since employees may find it hard to concentrate on their work due to mental health problems.

Mood changes can also indicate that an employee is experiencing poor mental health, including irritability, anxiety, and depression. Other behavioural changes such as a change in work pattern, isolation, and aggression can also be symptoms.

It is easy to dismiss these changes as unrelated to work, but as a manager, it is essential to express concern and support. Early intervention and support can greatly improve an employee's mental health and overall well-being.


Reasons for employee mental health issues caused by managers

Employee mental health is crucial for the success of any workplace, and managers play a significant role in its maintenance. However, various reasons can lead to poor mental health, such as unrealistic expectations, ignorance towards employee concerns, lack of communication and no work-life balance, all caused by managers.

Unrealistic expectations often create undue pressure on employees, resulting in increased stress levels and anxiety. It is necessary to set achievable goals, but managers should ensure they are realistic. Ignoring employee concerns can make them feel unimportant and unvalued, leading to a decrease in morale. Managers should actively listen to and address employee concerns to maintain a healthy work environment.

Good communication is essential in any relationship, including the one between managers and employees. Poor communication can create misunderstandings, leading to an unhealthy work environment. Managers should prioritise communication and ensure everyone is on the same page, reducing the chances of misunderstandings.

The lack of work-life balance can negatively impact an employee's mental health. When employees feel overworked, they may become stressed, anxious and frustrated. Managers should encourage a positive work-life balance by providing support for activities outside of work, such as family events and hobbies.

Managers should keep all these factors in mind and work on creating a healthy work environment that prioritises employee mental health. It is important to note that a healthy work environment not only benefits the employees but also the overall business by increasing productivity and decreasing absenteeism and high turnover rates.

Effects of poor mental health in the workplace

It's no secret that poor mental health can have negative consequences for employees. But did you know that it can also have a significant impact on the workplace as a whole? First, there's the issue of decreased productivity.

When employees are struggling with their mental health, it can be difficult to concentrate on work and meet deadlines. This can lead to missed goals and a decrease in overall output. Then there's the matter of decreased employee morale. When some staff members are struggling, others may begin to feel overwhelmed or unsupported, leading to a chain reaction of negativity throughout the workplace.

Lastly, there's the risk of increased absenteeism and high turnover rates. When employees are struggling with their mental health, they may need time off to recover or may even quit their job altogether if they do not receive appropriate support.

As a manager, it's crucial to recognize the impact that poor mental health can have on your team and your company. By creating a supportive work environment and providing resources for employees to get the help they need, you can not only improve employee well-being but also boost productivity and retention.

Ways for managers to support mental health

Ways for managers to support mental health: It goes without saying that mental health support from managers can lead to a happy, motivated, and productive workforce. In this section, we will be discussing some key ways in which managers can support the mental health of their employees.

Creating a positive work environment is an essential aspect of mental health support. Encouraging positivity among team members and emphasizing the importance of positive reinforcement when dealing with employees can lead to improved mental well-being in the workplace. Celebrating small wins and recognizing individual contributions can help create a sense of pride and accomplishment among employees.

Promoting a healthy work-life balance is equally important. Encouraging healthy habits such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress management can go a long way in supporting the physical and mental well-being of employees. Allowing flexibility for employees to take time off when needed and not overloading employees with work can lead to a decrease in employee stress levels. Encouraging open communication is another key aspect of mental health support. Managers should make sure that their employees feel comfortable communicating with them about any issues they may be experiencing. Creating a safe and non-judgmental space for employees to express their thoughts will help reduce employee anxiety and stress levels.

Providing mental health resources and support can make a significant difference in an employee's mental well-being. Offering counseling or providing referrals to a mental health professional can help employees deal with mental health issues. Making sure employees are aware of these resources and how to access them will help normalize the idea of seeking help when needed. Developing reasonable expectations is essential for managers in supporting their employee's mental health. Unrealistic expectations fuel job stress, which can lead to deteriorating mental health. Setting smaller targets and celebrating progress towards them can help employees maintain a positive attitude towards their work.

Implementing these key ways of supporting the mental health of employees can lead to a happy and productive workforce. Managers who invest in the mental health of their employees can enjoy the benefits of high motivation, low turnover rates, and a positive workplace.


In today's fast-paced work environments, it is critical that managers prioritize their employees' mental health. Poor mental health in the workplace can negatively impact employee productivity and morale, resulting in high turnover rates and increased absenteeism.

By creating a positive work environment, promoting a healthy work-life balance, encouraging open communication, providing mental health resources and support, and developing reasonable expectations for employees, managers can positively impact employee mental health.

It is essential to address mental health in the workplace, and managers play a crucial role in supporting their employees' mental health. By taking proactive steps to prioritize mental health, managers can not only improve the well-being of their employees but also increase productivity and retain top talent. So let's take mental health seriously and work towards creating healthier work environments!

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