Changes in behaviour signal potential mental disorder

Labels don’t help, but understanding does
By Kathy Jurgens
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/17/2009

There are plenty of labels for people with mental health-related conditions. Often, managers and supervisors think if only they knew the diagnosis of a particular employee, they would be able to help. But the truth is there are several reasons why the labels won’t help.

First, if 10 people in a workplace had depression, they would all manifest different behaviours at work. Some would be cranky and irritable, others would be emotional or crying, some would be quiet and withdrawn. Some would even be smiling and joking while they struggled with this illness and no one would ever know from looking at them how they suffered.

What matters in the workplace is how, or even if, the illness impacts their work. This is the issue for the front-line manager.