Last reviewed 8 August 2019

A healthcare company has launched a campaign to reduce stress in the workplace by raising awareness of the signs of mental health issues in the hope of helping staff to support each other.

The “Put a Face On” mental health campaign from the healthcare company Cigna is aimed at encouraging employers and employees to spot signs and symptoms of stress and potential mental health difficulties in workers.

The company has shared an ABCDE list of stress-related signs to be aware of in colleagues as follows:

  • Antisocial — social withdrawal, such as distancing themselves from colleagues, friends and family

  • Behaviour — erratic behaviour with extreme highs and lows or strong feelings of anger, often unexplained

  • Concentration — confused thinking and feelings of disorientation and missed deadlines

  • Drugs and alcohol abuse — where anxiety may signal substance or alcohol dependency

  • Emotional and physical impact — extreme sadness, worry or tearfulness, or unexplained aches and pains.

The company adds that the following ABCDE of practical suggestions may be helpful for employees and employers in order to provide support to colleagues:

  • Arrange the right time and place for a chat and ensure they feel comfortable

  • Be a friend — reassure and encourage and don’t show signs of surprise or judgment

  • Conversation — adopt active listening, use eye-to-eye contact, acknowledge what’s being said

  • Don’t immediately suggest solutions, they may welcome advice but may just need to vent

  • Encourage them to get help if you’re worried and ensure you have information at hand such as helpline numbers and web links.

Phil Austin, Chief Executive Officer of Cigna Europe, said, “We’re living in an ‘always on’ culture, with stress at an all-time high. It’s evident from our research that employers can do more to empower their staff to support each other. Our practical tips help employers and employees spot the signs and encourage a more open culture in addressing mental health issues in the workplace”.