HR professionals often carry a heavy emotional burden. Whether it is letting someone go, issuing a disciplinary warning, or helping to resolve a conflict, much of what the modern HR professional does on a day-to-day basis requires an incredible level of empathy and professionalism. They must delicately navigate highly emotionally-charged situations, while representing their company and following policy and procedure to the letter. All of this can have an impact on mental health, particularly for HR professionals that do it all. Recruiting for example, has its own emotional ups and downs, as does serving on a board or management team.
So whether you are an HR professional dealing with your own mental health issue, or trying to meaningfully advise colleagues who need help, here are a few things you may want to remember.
1. You are not alone
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, one in four people will experience a mental health issue in the workplace at some point in their life. In the U.S. over 44 million adults currently have a mental health condition.
2. Admit there is a problem
Most people have a hard time admitting they have a mental health issue to themselves, let alone to anyone else. Fewer than half of the people who need help get it, often because of social stigma, the fear of repercussions at work, or lack of access to quality, affordable care. But once you are able to admit that there is an issue, you can begin the process of addressing it. Mental health conditions come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with symptoms ranging from constant procrastination to becoming short tempered, to having regular outbursts of emotion or feeling drained and unmotivated. Talk to someone about how you are feeling—a friend, a doctor, your HR manager, or a trusted colleague. Just talking about it can sometimes make a big difference.
3. Employer support
Employers are in a vital position to help employees deal with, and recover from, mental health conditions. They should have clear policies in place protecting employees with a mental health issue from discrimination. They should also support their teams with their mental health including a useful guide to assist line managers in dealing with disclosure about a mental health problem. Additionally, they should provide training options so managers are confident having conversations about mental health.
4. Be healthy & encourage good health
Being physically healthy is a good place to start if you are struggling with a mental health condition. It is hard to feel mentally and emotionally good if you are exhausted. Getting the right amount of sleep, limiting alcohol consumption and engaging in exercise 2-3 times a week can go a long way in helping to recover from a mental health issue.
5. A change of scene
Mental health issues may be related to circumstances at work. Perhaps a bad review started self-doubt that turned into depression. Or perhaps you just feel out of place at your current organisation, and it is leading to unhappiness. Perhaps you are unmotivated by your assignments, team or manager, and are ready for something new. Consider getting in touch with a specialist recruitment consultant to find out what else is out there in your field. A new job may change everything.
A mental health condition is nothing to be ashamed of. As hard as it is to reach out for help, talking to a doctor or HR manager about it is a great place to start the road to recovery. For more information on mental health, visit Mental Health America’s website, or The Mental Health Foundation’s website.
About Oliver Parks
Oliver Parks Consulting offers search-based recruitment solutions to the technology sector, specialising in the ERP, CRM, CMS, ECM, BI and Open Source Technology spaces. The firm’s multilingual consultants operate in narrowly-defined niche market segments, enabling them to gain extensive knowledge of the people and companies operating in each technology. Oliver Parks has a proven track-record with more than 100,000 candidates worldwide and more than 300 clients globally.