This is Oliver. Oliver is 22 years old and graduated recently. He is in his first job and doing his best to get to grips with everything – new routine, new demands, new people and he needs to fit in and prove himself. They seem to expect a lot of him and it’s exactly the job he has always wanted, he really cannot fail, the chances of another opportunity like this are few and far between.

He feels a little out of his depth and has started to feel a little anxious when it gets really busy, and this morning when he was waiting for the train. He hesitated about even going to work as he knows today there is a lot happening. He is doing his best not to let his anxiety show but is worried about making a mistake.

He’s also struggling a bit personally too, which probably isn’t helping the anxiety over work -  his sexuality; he can’t let anyone at work know yet, he needs to fit in nicely with the team and pass his induction, just get himself established and keep safe until then.  

It’s not easy at home either just now as his parents are going through a difficult divorce at the moment so he doesn’t feel it’s a good time to tell them just now, they certainly don’t need any more drama just yet.  He’s started using MDA that he has been getting from a club he went to one weekend as it helps him feel a little lighter but trying to hold everything together just now is really tough ….

What if Oliver worked for you? Would his manager be able to spot the signs and know how to best respond? Do your managers have the communication skills to have an honest conversation of this nature? Would they spot his vulnerabilities and make time to have a caring conversation?