Before approaching the conversation, active preparation is key. This allows you to guide the conversation confidently and thoughtfully, just like an effective leader would.
💡 How do you best prepare for a conversation about mental well-being? Watch this video to learn more about Selina’s approach.
These are the four pillars of effective preparation for a mental well-being conversations:
1. Create a safe space
First and foremost, consent is crucial. Have you asked if they are comfortable engaging in the conversation you’re proposing? Have they agreed? Remember, it’s entirely within their rights to say, “No, I’m not ready to share just yet.” Depending on the seriousness of the situation, you might respond with: “I understand and respect your decision. I do want to express that I’m concerned. Is there anything you need from me that could help you feel more secure in sharing what’s happening? Would it be alright if we check in again in a few weeks?”
Respect their privacy
Assure the person that their emotional expressions will remain confidential if that is their wish. This can be particularly important if they are sharing something sensitive or personal.
Time and place
Confirm with the other person the best time and location for your conversation. Choose a private, quiet setting free from interruptions, ensuring you allocate sufficient time so you don’t feel rushed.
2. Direction and clarity
Take time for reflection
Take time to answer the following questions: Why are you initiating this conversation? What behavioral changes have you observed in the employee? What challenges might you face during this conversation as a manager?
Review company policies
Familiarise yourself with your company’s provisions related to mental well-being, such as policies for time-off requests or access to support resources. This will allow you to guide your employee toward suitable support options more effectively.
3. Seek support
Connect with other managers or HR
It’s a good move to ask for advice. Engaging with your workmates can give you some really useful viewpoints. Just make sure you keep your employee’s privacy in mind during these discussions.
Reach out to OpenUp
Our psychologists are experts in these matters and are readily available to assist you.
4. Right space of mind
You know the saying – you can’t pour from an empty cup. This is particularly true when you’re helping others. Being in the right headspace can really make all the difference. If you’re feeling calm, open, and compassionate, that’s the energy you’ll bring to the conversation and the space.
To help you achieve a calm headspace, we’ve created a brief audio guide for recommended listening to it prior to the conversation. Its purpose is to get you in the best mindset for sensitive discussions regarding mental well-being; emphasising presence, compassion, and clarity.
Practice: Create the right headspace to hold a mental well-being conversation