Wouldn't it be nice to read off a list and say, "do these things and all will be alright." Sadly, life isn't like that and mental health is far more complex. Before we begin in earnest, I need to get this off my chest...

This isn't about how to protect employee mental health through the pandemic at all.  This is about how to help a person's mental health. Being an employer or employee doesn't matter at all. Being in lockdown or not doesn't matter at all. Mental health and mental illness are indiscriminate and can affect all of us regardless of our circumstance.

Take this with you always, because it is always important. It's just especially important now because people are spending more time with themselves and are less distracted by work. How do we help the mental health of all within an organisation? Well, to me, it starts and ends with love.

We talk about ‘employee engagement', why is that any different from ‘marital engagement'?

For better, for worse...

For richer, for poorer...

In sickness and in health...

We've come from the better, richer and healthier days that we've had for many years. We're now surrounded by sickness, worse off and people are feeling poorer day by day. But that commitment was still made. Now is that commitment being tested!

I'm not an expert on love. I would never profess to be. But I know what love means to me and it's exactly the same as what I want from anyone and everyone in my life, employer or not! It starts with communication.

Good, honest, open and two-way communication. The sort of communication that's like speaking to a mate over a pint or meeting an old friend in a quiet coffee shop. The sort of communication where you're both speaking, both sharing and both happy to explore each and every tangent that follows. It might not always be relevant, but it helps you both to understand the other's position.

Then there is the mutual respect between you. You each have lives. You each have circumstances. You each have feelings and thoughts that may be different from one another. You may be different, but you respect that difference and learn and grow from it. If one of you is scared, struggling, uncertain, frightful, you show them the utmost respect when they share it with you. Being frightened isn't a weakness, no more than bravery a strength! If someone opens up to you; friend, family, lover, colleague, boss, whatever, be respectful that they have shown the deepest of trust in you.

But how do you help people to open up and start communication?

Well that's where showing your own vulnerability comes in. Who are you most likely opening up to and speaking honestly with; the armour-clad, emotionless, near-perfect demi-god? Or, the ‘other guy' who has the same fears, frailties and insecurities as the ones inside of you?

If you truly want to help someone through something, you need to show your own vulnerability and embrace it with them. Lead by example, share your worries, struggles and pains. No one is used to living under a lockdown and it's okay to not be okay with it.

Finally, one of the hardest lessons in life for us all, is acceptance. This is life. Life happens. It just does. You cannot control everything and even when you feel you can, you can still lose. This isn't a failure. It's just life!

It is okay to not be okay right now. What has happened is unprecedented. Focusing on comparisons to the past or preparing for the future blinds us to the present and what is truly important in life, life itself!

We live in uncertain times and unpredictable times and it's okay to live day-to-day at present. No one is immune to the impacts of lockdown. It affects each of us in our own way; just as mental health and wellbeing affects each of us differently.

All of the above; communication, respect, vulnerability and acceptance are the foundations of love and the grounds for real and truthful relationships and engagement between people.

All of the above cost you absolutely nothing as an employer and I would urge you to live by them - hopefully not die by them - every day with all your employees; regardless of grade or status within your organisation.

Please though, whatever you do, don't stop living by them when lockdown measurements are lifted. Always care for your employees as you would care for any of your relationships. But never forget to care for yourself in all this as without first being considerate of yourself, you'll never be able to be truly considerate for others. Build your employee engagement as you would a real engagement. On love and on hope. Things that we could all use a little of right now.

Andy Salkeld is just another guy and author of Life is a Four-Letter Word: A Mental Health Survival Guide for Professionals - available from 14 May 2020 on amazon.co.uk.