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So how do i have “that” important conversation with a co-worker?

We have all been there. We are all hesitant to reach out to help a co-worker who is struggling for fear of saying the wrong things or offending the other person. However, a simple “Are you okay?” is a great place to start. It shows you are open to supporting a person who is going through a rough time.

1. Ask questions and listen

Asking questions can give the other person a chance to express how they are feeling and what they’re going through, and it will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not judgmental – such as “how does that affect you” or “what does it feel like?”

2. Think about the time & place

Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. Some people don’t like to make eye contact. So, when you talk in person, you might want to chat while you are doing something else, such as over a coffee break, walking, or travelling to the work site together. The more laid back the setting, the less uncomfortable the conversation can feel.

3. Be patient

No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s OK – the fact that you’ve tried to talk to them about it may make it easier for them to open up another time.

4. Ask twice

We know that people often say they’re fine when they’re not. We’ve all done that!  So, asking twice is an important way of starting conversations about mental health and letting people know that you really are interested about how they are doing. Even if someone doesn’t feel like talking at that moment, they know you’ll be there to listen when they’re ready to open up to you.

5. Talk about yourself

If you want someone to open up to you, it can help them feel comfortable and understood if you share your own feelings. It could be as simple as sharing that you feel down sometimes or sharing something that you’ve been worrying about recently. This will make it clear that you’re happy to talk about feelings and that there won’t be any judgement here.