Urgent support advice for mental health crisis: a manager's guide


Many people struggle to cope at one point or another of their lives. Experiencing a range of emotions during these times is common.

Signs that someone may not be okay

  • feeling restless and agitated
  • feeling tearful
  • not wanting to talk to or be with people
  • not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
  • using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • finding it hard to cope with everyday things
  • not replying to messages or being distant

You might not always be able to spot these signs, and these emotions show up differently in everyone.

Situations to look out for

It can also be useful to identify these situations that can trigger suicidal thoughts or make it hard for someone to cope.

  • relationship and family problems
  • loss, including loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement
  • financial worries
  • job-related stress
  • college or study-related stress
  • loneliness and isolation
  • depression
  • painful and/or disabling physical illness
  • heavy use of or dependency on alcohol or other drugs
  • thoughts of suicide

Again, these may not apply to everyone who is struggling, but they can be useful to look out for.

What you can do

  • talk to them about their feelings. Samaritans offer advice on having a difficult conversation
  • encourage them to review occupational Health web page for advice. Going through this page together may offer support and may also help them to identify with certain feeling and or trigger which in turn may mean they are more willing to engage in contacting their GP or other support services that are listed on our web pages.

Extreme distress or emergency situation

Coping in a situation where you are faced with an employee or colleague who is extremely distressed is very difficult and can be upsetting.
First of all, try to stay calm. Talk to the employee or colleague calmly and empathetically. If you are not able to encourage them to look at the Occupational Health web pages and/or contact their own GP - or other services - you have two options:

  • if you think they are extremely distressed but it is not life threating, you can call the NHS 111 and speak to an advisor- they will guide you through the next steps (it is preferable to have the employee’s consent before taking this step, but you can call NHS 111 without it, if absolutely necessary)

  • if you think they are in immediate danger, you can call an ambulance on 999

It is important to talk to the employee to let them know you are taking these steps. Explain them that you are very worried and that you believe they need help. Most people are thankful that someone is trying to help. It is preferable to have the employee’s consent, but you can call the NHS 111 without it, if absolutely necessary. 



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Occupational Health Services

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Oxford OX1 3PD



 01865 (2)82676


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 Friday: 8.30am to 1pm and 2 to 4pm


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