COVID and Mental Health

COVID-19 has created uncharted territory for everyone. We are working from home (if we are lucky enough to have a job); schools and universities are closed while students are studying from home; businesses are closing or redefining how they operate; and we have added new terms to our vocabulary like “social distancing,” “flattening the curve,” “pandemic,” and “PPE.”

The epidemic is a source of anxiety, fear, and worry for many people around the world.  For those who suffered with mental illness prior to the outbreak, things can feel bleak.  A recent national survey from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) shows COVID-19 is seriously affecting Americans’ mental health, with half of US adults reporting high levels of anxiety.  While the APA admits this is a normal response to this situation, it still needs to be monitored.  Most survey respondents (57%) said they’re concerned the pandemic will have a serious impact on their personal finances and two thirds (68%) fear it will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.

It is important to remember that we are not alone, and as employers it is important to provide resources and support systems for team members.  Leaders are navigating complex issues and feelings as they figure out how to manage the business, employee anxiety, and their own personal challenges that emerge.

As an employer, be sure to utilize all of your resources to support your team.  Do you have an EAP [Employee Assistance Program] for your employees?  If so, make sure your employees have access to these resources and are educated on the benefit.  Many EAPs are holding virtual discussions with employees to help them get through this difficult time and to help them find professional assistance.

Other resources include:

Stay focused on support, relationships, and connection during this difficult time.  We will get on the other side of this and will be a stronger community because of it.