As employers, it is important to be proactive in recognizing signs of mental health concerns in employees and providing appropriate support. Mental health assessments can play a crucial role in identifying potential issues and connecting employees with the necessary resources. This blog post aims to guide employers in recognizing signs that indicate the need for a mental health assessment in employees and suggests strategies for addressing the situation effectively.

Signs an Employee May Need a Mental Health Assessment

Observable Changes in Behavior

Pay attention to significant changes in an employee’s behavior, such as noticeable mood swings, increased irritability, withdrawal from social interactions, or a decline in work performance. These changes may indicate underlying mental health issues that require assessment and support.

Frequent Absenteeism or Tardiness

Consistent absenteeism or chronic tardiness can be indicative of mental health struggles. If an employee frequently calls in sick or is consistently late without a clear reason, it may be a sign that they need a mental health assessment to determine the underlying cause of their attendance issues.

Increased Emotional Distress

Employees who display heightened emotional distress, such as frequent crying, expressions of hopelessness, or signs of anxiety, may benefit from a mental health assessment. Encourage open communication, provide a safe space for employees to share their feelings, and be attentive to any concerning emotional changes.

Decreased Productivity or Concentration

Noticeable declines in productivity, difficulty concentrating, or an inability to complete tasks within deadlines may be indicators of underlying mental health challenges. These signs should be taken seriously and addressed promptly to prevent further negative impact on the employee’s wellbeing and work performance.

Excessive Stress or Burnout Symptoms

Employees who exhibit signs of excessive stress or burnout, such as chronic fatigue, insomnia, emotional exhaustion, or feelings of overwhelm, may require a mental health assessment to identify and address the underlying causes. Implement strategies to promote work-life balance and support employee wellbeing to prevent and manage burnout.

Noticeable Changes in Appearance or Self-Care

Significant changes in an employee’s appearance, hygiene, or self-care habits can be red flags for mental health concerns. If an employee’s personal grooming declines, they exhibit significant weight fluctuations, or neglect their physical appearance, they may benefit from a mental health assessment.

Expressions of Suicidal Ideation or Self-Harm

Any direct or indirect expressions of suicidal thoughts or self-harm should be treated as urgent concerns. If an employee communicates such thoughts, take immediate action by connecting them with mental health resources and professional support. Encourage a compassionate and non-judgmental approach in dealing with these situations.

Strategies for Addressing Mental Health Assessments

  • Foster a supportive work environment that encourages open dialogue about mental health and destigmatizes seeking help.
  • Educate managers and supervisors about recognizing signs of mental health concerns and provide training on how to approach employees in need of a mental health assessment.
  • Promote mental health resources within the workplace, such as employee assistance programs, counseling services, and mental health hotlines.
  • Ensure employees have access to confidential and culturally competent mental health professionals who can conduct assessments and provide appropriate support.
  • Communicate with empathy and compassion when discussing mental health concerns with employees, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to their wellbeing and confidentiality.

Provide Mental Health Training for Managers

Equip managers with the necessary skills and knowledge to recognize signs of mental health concerns and effectively support employees. Offer training sessions that focus on active listening, empathy, and providing appropriate resources. This will enable managers to address mental health concerns with sensitivity and refer employees to the appropriate resources for a comprehensive assessment.

Create a Mental Health Policy

Develop a comprehensive mental health policy that outlines the organization’s commitment to supporting employee wellbeing. Include information about the availability of mental health assessments, resources, and the confidentiality of the process. This policy should also address accommodations for employees who may require adjustments in their work arrangements to better manage their mental health.

Implement Regular Mental Health Check-Ins

Incorporate regular mental health check-ins as part of the performance review process. This can be an opportunity for employees to discuss their mental wellbeing, address any concerns, and seek support. These check-ins should be conducted in a non-judgmental and confidential manner, allowing employees to openly express their thoughts and feelings.

Promote Self-Care and Stress-Reduction Techniques

Encourage employees to prioritize self-care and provide resources or workshops on stress reduction techniques. Offer access to mindfulness programs, meditation apps, or yoga classes that can help employees manage stress and improve their mental wellbeing. By promoting self-care, employers foster a culture that values mental health and encourages employees to take proactive steps in caring for themselves.

Establish Peer Support Networks

Encourage the formation of peer support networks where employees can connect with others who may be experiencing similar challenges. Peer support can provide a sense of community, understanding, and empathy. These networks can facilitate conversations about mental health, offer emotional support, and reduce feelings of isolation.

Collaborate with Mental Health Professionals

Partner with mental health professionals or organizations to provide on-site mental health assessments or access to confidential assessments off-site. Establish a network of trusted professionals who specialize in conducting mental health assessments and can provide appropriate recommendations for further support or treatment.

Regularly Evaluate the Effectiveness of Mental Health Initiatives

Continuously assess the impact of mental health initiatives and strategies implemented in the workplace. Seek feedback from employees through surveys, focus groups, or anonymous suggestion boxes to understand their experiences and needs. Use this feedback to refine and enhance existing strategies, ensuring they remain relevant and effective.


Recognizing the need for mental health assessments in employees is crucial for providing timely support and intervention. By being attentive to observable changes in behavior, absenteeism, emotional distress, productivity decline, burnout symptoms, changes in appearance, and expressions of suicidal ideation, employers can take proactive steps.

About the Author

Dejr BostickDejr Bostick, a Miami native, is a Marine veteran and breathwork specialist. With dual degrees in Marketing and Management, an MBA, and a background in Divinity and Theology, he has spent 15 years exploring the power of meditation and mindfulness for personal growth. In 2018, he founded Black Men Meditate, providing support for men of color facing stress and societal biases. Bostick is also a respected financial leader with over 15 years of experience. Today, he leads transformation programs for professionals, combining his expertise in meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork. Bostick is married to Jil Littlejohn Bostick and is a proud parent of two children. For more on Dejr Bostick: