At work

Feeling supported at work is important too

Given how much time we spend at work (mahi), we’re well placed to notice if a workmate isn’t their usual self. You can do a lot to help your workmate feel valued and connected.

How you can help

Depression and anxiety can make it harder for your workmate to get through their regular duties. Your support could make a real difference to them being able to continue working while they get through this time. In fact, staying at work (mahi) might play a big part in their recovery. Work has many benefits for us all including:

  • helping us stay active
  • providing a sense of community and belonging
  • allowing us to feel that we’re making a contribution to society and our family (whānau)
  • giving structure to days and weeks
  • financial security.

Here are some things you could do to help:

  • have a casual check-in – Are you ok? How’s your workload? How are your energy levels?
  • go for a walk together at lunchtime
  • make sure they eat a healthy lunch
  • keep them connected with their other workmates. Have a shared lunch some time.
  • be a support person if they need to talk (kōrero) to a manager about what’s going on.

If you’re concerned about someone at work (mahi) and notice that they’re not themselves, it can be awkward. You might not know them well or might not know what to say. You could try these tips on how to start a conversation.

Further information for workplace health: 
Working Well - A guide to supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace.
Open Minds - Resources to help managers talk about mental wellbeing in the workplace. - A guide to workplace wellbeing. - Information about discrimination.

Do you need immediate help?

Please take any thoughts (whakaaro) around suicide or self-harm seriously – and it’s okay to talk (kōrero) about it. Don’t leave someone alone if they say they feel unsafe.

If you think someone is having thoughts about hurting or killing themselves urgent help is needed. Emergency teams (called CATT or PES) provide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week assessment and short-term treatment services for people experiencing a serious mental health crisis. This could include safety issues. Contact your local Mental Health Services immediately.

Keeping secrets when it comes to suicide and self-harm can be unhelpful to both you and the person. Talk with someone else or call a helpline to discuss your concerns.

Always ask permission to contact services on a person’s behalf however if you feel they are in immediate danger and they won’t give permission you may need to go against their wishes.

If you think you need specialist advice on how to help, call the Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 or contact your local Mental Health Services.

workmen talking to each other

What next?

Take a good look around the rest of this website to understand more about depression and anxiety and what can help. Check out the videos of people who share their stories and how they got through.

Other people's stories