Where can I find help for an employee?
If you are concerned that an employee may have a mental health problem, find out what resources your organization has to help and how an employee can access these services and supports. When you talk to the employee, it is important that you have this information at hand.
Many organizations have employee assistance programs (EAPs) or access to EAP services. Through these programs employees can receive short-term counseling and referrals for longer-term counseling if needed. EAP counselors can also work with employees and employers to recommend accommodations that enable employees to continue working productively.
If your organization does not have EAP services, the CMHA branch or other community information sources closest to you can help identify mental health services in your community.
Whether or not an employee indicates that they are interested in seeing a mental health professional or that they are already receiving treatment, provide them with information about the services available to them (such as the EAP program, or community services). Many people are reluctant to ask for such information, so posting it on a Web site, such as a company intranet, is one way to make information on mental health services readily available.
If an employee discloses to you that he or she feels they need help from a psychiatrist, they may need to get a referral from their own family physician or general practitioner.
An employee is most likely to take up an offer of services and supports if you reassure them that you’re interested in helping them to continue working effectively, and that you’ll make any reasonable accommodations that help them achieve that goal. If your organization has confidentiality policy, it helps to mention it, or at least assure the employee that your discussion is confidential, as the stigma surrounding mental illness is a primary reason people don’t seek help.
Remember that an employee may or may not choose to make use of these services. They are also under no obligation to tell their manager or supervisor whether they are seeing an EAP counselor or mental health professional, or what they talk about, unless the discussions are part of a return-to-work process.