2020 has brought an abundance of challenges to people all over the world. It seems that when we think that things can’t get any worse, we are hit with another obstacle. With all the uncertainty, lost jobs, illness, and lack of toilet paper, it’s easy to say that this year has been anything but a smooth ride.
Overall, this year and pandemic has taken a major toll on many people’s mental health and well-being. It is so important now more than ever to be aware of your employee’s health and be sure they are given the necessary resources to live as stress free as possible.
COVID-19’s Impact on Employees’ Mental Health
The stress of COVID-19 has caused a great amount of fear to more aspects of people’s lives other than just catching the virus. Individuals are losing jobs and becoming financially unstable, graduating college students are being thrown into one of the worst job markets, death rates from the virus are increasing by the day, and people who quarantine are missing social interaction with friends and family.
Below is a list of just some of the mental health statistics in America.
- In late June 2020, 40 percent of adults in the U.S. stated that they have been struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse. (CDC)
- The rate of moderate to severe anxiety peaked in September of 2020, with over eight in 10 people who took an anxiety screen scoring with moderate to severe symptoms. (Mental Health America)
- An estimated 26 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – about one in four adults – suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. (John Hopkins Medicine)
What Employers Can Do to Support Employees’ Mental Health
Many individuals may feel stressed or pressured to go into their work facilities or offices. There are multiple ways for employers to take care of their employees during these difficult times.
Create a system of support and trust
Let your employees know that you are there for them and form a sense of trust. One of the issues people face is not knowing where to turn in times of hardship. Being open and transparent with your employees can give them the opportunity to search for help before things become too overwhelming for them.
Provide your employees with resources
It is absolutely necessary for all employees to have access to beneficial resources to educate them and help them cope with mental health issues. Some examples of helpful websites are the American Psychological Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and the CDC. These sites all include information on a variety of mental health issues as well as ways to improve symptoms and live a healthier life. Also, your company’s HR departments should consider providing an Employee Assistance Program for all employees, with access to licensed professionals.
Create a healthy work environment
Employees can feel less stressed or anxious at work if the environment is positive. Have casual conversations with them and get to know them on a personal level. Also, have biweekly or monthly check-ins to see how your employees are feeling or if they are having any additional stress in their life. Form a culture that is inviting, happy, and supportive.
Hold mental health trainings
The best way to inform all employees to be aware of mental health is having all-office trainings. Educating your company on what mental health is, what the warning signs are, and how to take care of themselves and others can make a huge difference. This can help prevent issues further down the line and reassure others that it is ok to struggle with mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, reach out to your primary care provider. For emergencies, contact the SAMHSA National Help Line at 1-800-662-HELP.