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Leader/Line Managers Quick Guide to Compassionate Conversations around Mental Health

How do you feel about asking your employees how they feel?

Does it fill you with dread and anxiety? Does it feel safer to ask where they are going on their next holiday?

The short term relief we get from avoidance can cause difficulties in the longer term.

Staff who do not feel supported or heard and understood, will have a financial and ethical cost to your business. When we are in turmoil, or we do not feel safe enough to disclose mental health difficulties, we are less productive. This is often linked to absenteeism or presenteeism. If we are not well, we cannot perform at our best. It makes sense.

We know that fear and anxiety often prevent line managers from having these important conversations around mental health.

These are the types of conversations that can have a MASSIVE impact.

Many of my clients have first disclosed mental health to their line manager, even before their partner or closest relative/friend. In my experience, this can be such a pivotal moment.

This is a golden opportunity to respond to the person and their needs, build a healthy, trusting relationship and your business benefits too. Paying attention to individual mental health and wellbeing needs offers a fantastic ROI.

“Our analysis at that time found that poor mental health costs UK employers over £33 billion – £42 billion each year. We also estimated the return on investment (ROI) of workplace mental health interventions by employers, and found that for every £1 invested, employers received £4 back”


I have designed a Quick Guide to Compassionate Conversations for Line Managers and Leaders.

If it encourages ONE line manager to have the conversation, and sit alongside the person in their pain and anguish, then we are moving in the right direction.

I think the fear and anxiety is more logically aligned with us NOT ASKING people how they are doing, with not asking if they need more from us, or from another service/professional.

Culturally, we do shy away from difficult conversations. We quite naturally skip to the ‘good bits’.

A few moments of discomfort and attentive listening can lead to amazing transformations.

Here is the guide with some ideas about how to get started.


Leaders Compassionate MH Conversations Cheat Sheet
Download PDF • 175KB

Take care.



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