Mental Health Ally

Be a Mental Health Ally: How to Spot the Signs and Offer Support to Colleagues

May 29, 2024

Work environments can be fast-paced and stressful, leading employees to face various mental health challenges. As a company, recognizing and addressing these issues can be tough. However, being aware of the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues can help play a crucial role in supporting each other’s well-being. Below, we provide guidance on how to spot these signs and offer advice on how to approach and support a colleague who might be struggling.


Anxiety at Work:

Anxiety can vary from person to person and show up in many ways. Below are common signs of anxiety you might notice in the workplace:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Constant worrying
  • Increased irritability and fatigue
  • Inability to focus and brain fog
  • Poor job productivity


Recognizing Signs of Depression:

Depression can greatly affect someone’s ability to function at work. Below are common signs of depression you might notice among colleagues:

  • Persistent sadness or changes in mood
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Missed deadlines
  • Lack of confidence or motivation
  • Isolation


Noticing Burnout:

Burnout is common in today’s workplaces and if not addressed properly, can lead to serious consequences. Below are common signs of burnout:

  • Chronic fatigue or exhaustion, despite adequate rest.
  • Increased irritability or frustration.
  • Reduced productivity or motivation.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches or muscle tension.
  • Withdrawal from social interactions or work-related activities.



How to Approach a Colleague

Approaching a colleague with the conversation about mental health can be hard to navigate. Try to start off with genuine concern and with their well-being the top priority for support. Below are tips for initiating these conversations effectively and compassionately:

  1. Find a quiet, private space where you can talk without interruption and start the conversation with observations, such as, “I’ve noticed you’ve seemed a bit down lately. Is everything okay?”
  2. Allow them to share their feelings without interrupting. Actively listening will help show that you are listening and hearing them. Say things like, “I’m here if you want to talk” or “How can I support you?”
  3. Suggest resources like counseling services or employee assistance programs. You can say, “It might be helpful to talk to a professional about what you’re going through.”
  4. Remember to keep the conversation confidential to respect their privacy (unless they are in immediate danger).


To foster a healthy work environment, it is crucial to first recognize the common signs of mental health issues and cultivate a supportive culture. By working together, we can establish workplaces where mental health is prioritized, and all employees feel valued.


At Joulé, we believe our world is filled with possibilities – where character, integrity, and commitment drive our purpose. Operating at the forefront of the life sciences arena, Joulé’s relentless approach enables our clients to execute critical initiatives and significant projects rapidly and effectively. Joulé is a System One division.

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