Following a traumatic event, it is normal to experience feelings of anger, sadness and anxiety. They may feel like this for a short period of time. When an employee does not seem to be recovering from the trauma after a few weeks, it may be time to discuss how they are feeling.
They may have experienced a trauma that you are unaware of. In which case, being aware of the tell tale signs that something is wrong, could help you to reach out to them early on. If a person is suffering from PTSD, the workplace can seem like a hostile and confusing environment. Your compassion and understanding can be vital in helping them through a very difficult time in their life.
In general, PTSD symptoms fall into three main categories: intrusive, arousal and avoidance.
Sufferers of PTSD can experience intrusive flashbacks and nightmares about the trauma they have experienced. These can be triggered by situations or even conversations that remind them of the event. It can cause them to feel that they are reliving the event.
PTSD symptoms can include a heightened state of alert, called “hyperarousal.” Symptoms can include insomnia, difficulty concentrating, regular feelings of fear and being startled easily.
Trying to shut out their feelings is a common trait in those suffering with PTSD. Avoiding people, places or situations that remind them of their traumatic event can often lead to isolation and withdrawal from friends, family and activities. They may develop feelings of depression and often feel guilty or worried.
If you notice any of the above, as an employer, you have a duty of care to have a conversation with your employee. The person suffering may not want to discuss anything about how they are feeling. It is their choice not to disclose a diagnosis. But by initiating the conversation, you have made the first step and can build on this. Reassure the individual that you are there whenever they are ready to talk.
Click here to find out how you can support an employee with PTSD.
Monthly one-to-one meetings are a great opportunity to keep up to date with an employee. It is a time that is dedicated to them and allows you to set goals and discuss observations you have made.