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Today's workplace has changed. Employees are much more desirous of positive, nurturing, and socially connected environments. This is especially true of younger workers, who also appreciate supervisors who are willing to be more vulnerable and open about their feelings with them. Given these new expectations and to help retain employees longer, offering guidance on coping with work stress is appropriate for supervisors. This can include, for example, counseling employees about taking risks, managing fear and work stress, coping with mistakes, not regretting missed opportunities, and overcoming fear of taking chances, as well as supervisors sharing information about their personal failures and successes. These things help employees build "emotional resilience" to better cope with errors, mistakes, work crises, coworker conflicts, disappointments, missed promotions, upsetting performance reviews, and more. All organizations want lower turnover, and helping employees build emotional resilience clearly has a business rationale. (NOTE: It is important to distinguish between the examples above from acute issues, which would dictate a referral to PAS.)

PAS helps managers with personal stress, and PAS helps remove the stress of managing the problematic behaviors of employees that may be linked to their personal problems. There is one part of the process that many managers forget, however. Any performance issue that is not improving is a potential referral to PAS. This step is a de-stressor because PAS can share the burden of helping an employee correct a performance problem. When supervisors refer employees to PAS, they are, in fact, referring them to correct performance issues, not mental health issues or other personal problems. Frequently, it is determined that some personal issue impedes performance (but not always). In those cases, PAS has been known to then refer employees to every sort of help imaginable -- even language classes, retirement planners, public speaking courses, and reading improvement programs to name a few.

To be completely unaware of the signs and symptoms of depression or any health problem that could lead to behavioral signs and symptoms in the workplace would not be a good thing, so it is appropriate to help supervisors be generally aware of observable signs or symptoms common among troubled employees with health or mental health conditions. This could lead to more supervisor-prompted self-referrals influenced by concern for the employee. This is a key reason for educating supervisors about the signs and symptoms of substance abuse. No matter what the health concern underlying the performance issues, the overriding principle that should be kept in mind is that focusing on the performance issues of quality of work, conduct, and attendance is more likely to lead to referrals of employees to PAS, where treatable health and mental health problems can be identified. The recovery from these problems is what will lead to improved performance, reduced turnover, and a healthier workforce. Check out the signs and symptoms of work depression.