Case Study

At Mental Health at Work we believe that our facilitation style is as important as the content in addressing the challenges around mental health.  To ensure that learning objectives are met within each module we use a range of learning methodologies to involve and engage participants, make it relevant and ensure that the group develops their own solutions to any identified challenges.  Case studies are a critical part of this and are developed by our experts to be relevant to the audience, industry and workplace culture.  Here is an edited version of a typical exercise:

Ravi works in in a small team. Like many other teams across the business they are under resourced and well known to work long hours. Ravi spends considerable time reviewing and re-writing detailed notes on his work and he asks for a lot of feedback around performance and development. Despite feedback from the senior team member, Ravi continues to seek reassurance on a daily basis and sends emails at night to check what he has heard during the day.

Ravi’s team members have noticed a change in in his behaviour. Ravi has been getting very drunk, very quickly at after work drinks and he recently lost his work phone. His behaviour is becoming more erratic. Some have confided to each other that they think Ravi is a weak link and that performance across the team is affected by his behaviour. They feel frustrated and resentful because they are ‘‘carrying Ravi’’. Others are concerned but at a loss as to what to say or do.

Ravi reports to HR that he is unwell and cannot attend work. He says that he is suffering from anxiety issues and is on medication. He says that his line manager has been angry about his performance and has threatened to place him on a performance improvement plan if he does not improve. Ravi reports that this has compounded the anxiety, and he feels sick most of the time, finding it difficult to eat or sleep.

Ravi’s GP says he does not expect Ravi to be fit for work for at least three months and that Ravi has told him the stress has been caused by the bullying behaviour of his senior manager. Ravi submits a fit note from his GP which states that that Ravi is off work due to “work related stress”.

Ravi’s s Facebook page shows he has attended a friend’s wedding in Ibiza and has uploaded pictures of himself enjoying a beach party. The holiday was booked by Ravi before he reported sick.

Ravi’s senior manager is incensed by the pictures and contacts HR. He is insistent that action is taken to terminate Ravi’s employment and expresses his personal irritation about the time he spends supporting Ravi who he describes as a weak link, stating that Ravi’s anxiety is an excuse for a lack of ability.

What are your thoughts about what’s going on?
What do you think needs to happen?
What contact can / should the employer have with Ravi whilst he is off sick?
What are the risks/gains of doing something vs. nothing?
Who should take the lead?
What internal policies or structures can guide you?