Keep Employee Mental Health Top of Mind as the Covid Crisis goes on….and on….

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”  Coretta Scott King

When companies began to contend with COVID and how to navigate in the dynamic environment, mental health was an ongoing topic of discussion through webinars, blogs and from HR professionals.  Who would have known on March 15, 2020 that almost five months later the path forward will still be murky and changing daily?  While many companies and employers have “hit their stride” in the Covid Reality, there are daily signs that the stress is beginning to take a toll on our teammates, our students and our community as a whole.

Daily news reports highlight community members “breaking down” in public, lawsuits being filed by workers who believe they have been treated unfairly or exposed unnecessarily to Covid-19, and new disability claims and accommodation requests.  This drumbeat of discontent points directly to a growing mental health crisis.

In a recent Penn LDI article, “Responding to the Trauma of Covid-19” Robin Ortiz, MD and Laura Sinko, PhD, RN, CCTS-1, write:

We must address an equally important “pandemic:” the virus’ far-reaching mental health and trauma-related consequences. Whether balancing activities of essential work with exposure risk, bearing witness to suffering or loss, or feeling anguish or guilt for not “doing more” during this time, our society is facing great adversity with potentially devastating consequences.

Health concerns and a lack of support systems due to long-term isolation and economic fallout as a result of COVID are genuine concerns for many people.  The World Economic Forum posted an article “How Coronavirus is affecting our mental health which predicts the impact of social distancing has led to greater isolation and severe financial distress for many, which could inflict “long lasting emotional trauma.”

As a leader of a company, a coworker, or a friend, don’t forget to keep mental health top of mind.  Company resources to support those in need should be front and center on communication boards, intranets and blogs.  It is more important than ever to take care of ourselves and others. Identifying signs of stress and seeking help are important recommendations for everyone during what could turn into the greatest healthcare and economic crisis of our time.  If your company is beginning to look at “reentry” into work, check out the Harvard Business Review article Help Your Employees Manage Their Reentry Anxiety.”

For a list of some additional mental health resources, see our April article – COVID and Mental Health. We’d love to hear about what you are doing to support your team and your community – write to [email protected] and we’ll highlight what we hear in the September newsletter!