Just like taking a physical, mental health check-ins are an important part of overall wellness. They can identify warning signs and symptoms of mental health issues, as well as promote the importance of seeking help.
Check-in questions can be fun and lighthearted, allowing for a more relaxed, comfortable experience. They can also be a way to encourage team members to prioritise their wellbeing and build resilience.
1. Preventive Care
Similarly to preventative healthcare that includes screenings for chronic diseases, vaccines against illnesses like mumps and measles and lifestyle counseling on diet and exercise, mental health check-ins focus on prevention. They help identify potential problems or stressors and are much easier to treat in the early stages of a mental illness.
This year’s World Health Day theme is suicide prevention, which highlights the importance of preventing mental illness before it’s too late. Unfortunately, many people do not seek mental health care until the symptoms are too severe to ignore. That’s why it is crucial to establish a mental health check-in routine, so that issues can be addressed before they escalate into a clinical condition.
When it comes to a mental health check-in, the most important thing is to ask questions that help to identify the root of the problem. These questions are often similar to those used in therapy and are designed to help the person better understand their emotions and feelings.
2. Early Detection
Mental health check-ins can also serve as an early warning system, allowing people to identify any emotional changes they may be experiencing before the symptoms escalate. This is crucial for those struggling with an ongoing condition such as depression or anxiety, because these symptoms tend to get worse over time if left untreated.
Check-ins are especially helpful for people in recovery from a mental illness. In addition to helping them prioritize their own self-care, check-ins can also give them a sense of accountability by making it easier to notice if they begin to relapse.
By introducing mental health check-ins, you can help create an open dialogue about mental wellbeing in the workplace. Today’s employees want to address their health from an integrated care perspective that doesn’t silo off mental health from physical wellbeing.
3. Self-Awareness and Self-Reflection
As a team leader or educator, you can help students and staff feel supported by incorporating mental health into check ins. It’s a great way to get an idea of how they are doing and encourage them to ask for help if necessary.
These questions can also act as a way to encourage self-reflection and build self-awareness. Self-reflection can help an individual identify and manage their emotions. It can also help them to recognize patterns in their behaviors and how they may affect others.
Often, individuals who are struggling with mental illness will not even realize they are doing so. As such, a mental health check in can provide valuable insights and help them find the resources they need to overcome their challenges. Ultimately, the most important benefit of mental health check-ins is that they can help individuals and organizations take control of their wellbeing. In doing so, they can reduce stress levels and increase their ability to focus on work-related tasks.
A mental health check-in isn’t a cure for mental illness, but it’s an important first step to getting help. Check-ins can be done in person, on the phone, by email or text. It’s also important to remember that mental health check-ins are most effective when they happen regularly.
Check-ins can be particularly helpful during times of transition. These include graduating law school, taking the bar exam, starting a new job, being elevated to partner and major life events outside of work like marriage, having children or moving.
It can be difficult to start the conversation about mental wellness, but once the discussion begins, it becomes easier. It’s also important to have a system in place for follow up if an employee opens up about struggling. This ensures that they get the help and support they need to continue to thrive at work and in their personal lives. Talkspace articles are curated by mental health-wellness contributors and reviewed by clinical experts.