Know the signs……. Start the conversation

#mentalhealthweek #RUOK?

Have you noticed a change in your team mate? Start the conversation.

Have you noticed a change in your Manager? Start the conversation.

Throughout my career I have developed a strong sense of supporting others. These support skills are focussed on the wellbeing of others, the development of trust and the encouragement to seek support. Supportive conversations are a must to develop these support skills. Don’t rush a conversation, plan for it and you will make a difference to someone’s life.

Starting the conversation has helped many employees I have supported in my role as a HR Strategist. I have often been the person they trust and disclose to me how they are really feeling. For me, taking the step to start the conversation has allowed employees to make their health and wellbeing a priority, seek support to strengthen their wellbeing and help to set goals within the workplace.

Below are some signs to look out for: (adapted from

What are they saying?

Do they seem:

  • Confused or irrational
  • Moody
  • Unable to switch off
  • Concerned about the future
  • Concerned they’re a burden
  • Lonely or lacking self-esteem
  • Concerned they’re trapped or in pain

What are they doing?

Are they:

  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Changing their online behaviour
  • Losing interest in what they used to love
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Less interested in their appearance and personal hygiene
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Changing their sleep patterns

What is going on in their life?

Are they experiencing:

  • Relationship issues
  • Major health issues
  • Work pressure or constant stress
  • Financial difficulty
  • Loss of someone or something they care about

To help start the conversation, it will be important for you to prepare.

  • Ensure the conversation is in a private calm environment
  • Make sure you have picked a good time in the day to chat
  • Stay calm, listen and be open minded
  • Remind yourself that you are not there to diagnosis
  • Have some referral options in your mind; GP, Counsellor, Lifeline, Beyond Blue

 RU OK have developed a simple tool to help you prepare for the conversation. Follow this tool and your conversation will be a positive step in the right direction:


If you or your team members need assistance or help, below are some further resources:

Emma Baldwin is a seasoned human resource business partner, who strives to build trust and respect in every workplace. As a generalist, Emma’s experience spans the full range of human resources including: compliance, mediation, investigation, conflict resolution, employee training and recruitment. Outside of work, Emma enjoys exploring the great outdoors, health and fitness, theatre productions and spending time with her young family.


Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.

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