Supporting a work colleague

During Mental Health Week and beyond, take the time to notice whether you have a work colleague who is struggling. You may see that they are becoming withdrawn or not coping with their workload. If they are going through a tough time, there are things you can do to support them.


How to support your work colleague

Ask them how they are feeling

This sounds so simple, but it lets them know that you are open to a conversation and can offer support. Make it clear that you’re asking about them, not about the progress of a project they might be working on. You can listen to their experiences and talk openly about mental health.


Invite them to participate in social activities

Ask if they want to go out for lunch or take a walk.


Offer to help at work

Is there something you can do to ease their workload?


Recommend that they seek professional support

This can be your organisation’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), their GP or a counselling service. You can help them to find further information about the support available.


Keep in contact

Follow-up and ask them how the appointment went or just let them know that you’re available to talk.


The type of support you can offer will depend on how close your relationship is with your colleague, so use the suggestions above as a guide and choose what will work for you. You aren’t a counsellor, so you are not expected to come up with solutions to their problems, but you can listen and help them seek professional support.

If you feel like you are unable to start a conversation or provide support, speak to your manager about what you have been noticing – you don’t have to go through this alone.


If you need to talk to a counsellor, call SuicideLine Victoria 1300 651 251.

If it is an emergency, call 000.