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Ways to Help When Someone is Down

mature woman smiling at a friend

You can be a comfort to someone facing emotional pain by recognizing the signs and taking the time to talk. Consider these five ways to help—and not let the fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from reaching out.

  1. Be open to talking about mental health in your workplace. Mental health involves our psychological, social, and emotional well-being—and affects everything we do. Whether we’re finding it difficult to handle emotions, deal with stress, or make decisions, no one should feel any shame in asking for help. 
  2. Know the signs for when someone at work might be depressed. A coworker who withdraws from the team, is detached, or seems more isolated than usual may need help. Other signs might include indifference or apathy, procrastination, poor productivity and motivation, scattered thinking, tardiness, decline in confidence, change in appearance, and inappropriate outbursts, or strained relationships.
  3. Recognize how you can help—start by talking. If your coworker trusts you with sharing their depression or emotional vulnerabilities, let the person know you want to help and talk in confidence. Always use discretion to protect their privacy. Talk about sources of support that might be useful for the particular situation.   
  4. Ask questions with concern, respect, and care. Find ways to talk in private. Don’t be a therapist; be a friend. If something is affecting the person’s mood or anxiety, ask how it might have started, explain how they’re not alone, that you care, and thank them for opening up to you. Even “yeah, this sucks” can be affirming. If you can’t imagine what they’re going through, say so.
  5. Find out what mental health resources are available through your employer. Find out what’s provided on your medical plan; check to see if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to access free counseling sessions. Often, employers offer training programs and provide outside material designed to support mental health in the workplace. 


Free online tools and resources

As a PacificSource member, you can access CaféWell, an online health engagement portal. To get started, log into InTouch, and click on CaféWell.

Visit CaféWell to:

  • Complete the health assessment to identify your potential health risks.
  • Get your health and wellness questions answered by an expert health coach.
  • Connect with family, friends, and others with similar health goals.
  • Access helpful tips and articles on health and wellness. 

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