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Family and Friends

Family and friends can be an important source of support to a person who has a mental health problem. They can assist the person to get appropriate professional help and can also provide positive support which will help the person to recover.

When helping someone who is returning to work after anxiety or depression, family and friends should:

  • provide practical support to allow the employee to return to work (e.g. childcare, transport, household tasks)
  • support the employee in meeting their obligations under the return-to-work plan
  • leave the decision about when to return to work to the employee and their health care professional
  • not give negative messages to the employee about their ability to return to work
  • positively acknowledge success in return to work
  • be aware of early signs of relapse and how these may impact on work performance

Family and friends should also be aware that positive emotional support can assist the employee’s recovery and return to work, while negative interactions outside the workplace can affect the employee’s ability to return to or remain at work.

The following sources provide useful general advice on how family and friends can help.

  • The beyondblue guide for carers gives information on supporting and caring for a person with an anxiety disorder or depression. It can be downloaded for free from the Get Information section of the beyondblue website.
  • Practical advice on how to provide initial help to someone who has anxiety, depression or other mental health problem is available at the Mental Health First Aid website.

Mental Health in the Workplace

Managing Absence

Managing Return to Work