As many countries and states are opening back up, many people are returning to their daily routines. People are being encouraged to go back to work and continue life as “normal”, however many employees are facing an increase of anxiety and depression due to the effects of the Covid 19 Pandemic. That is why more than ever we should be talking about mental health especially in the workplace.
The mental health implications of the global health crisis, political unrest, economic uncertainty, rising unemployment, social isolation, remote work, homeschooling, and countless other factors have prompted it to be referred to as the “second pandemic.” Although it may appear that employees have had a chance to access the various resources and strategies available for managing their stress for a long time, the reality is that many of us are experiencing increased stress instead of less.
It can be difficult to discuss mental health with employees because there is no one common experience — even the term "mental health" is a catch-all for several conditions, including depression, stress, anxiety, and more. However, the less we talk about it the more we encourage the negative stigma mental health has. It is essential to address the issue proactively, strategically, and thoughtfully, to break this cycle. After all, your interaction with those who are dealing with anxiety can make a huge difference in how they feel.
The World Health Organization External Site released a report that forecasts that by 2030 there could be 12 billion lost workdays (50 million years of work) globally to depression and anxiety disorders alone.
Did you know 72% of employees want their employer to prioritize mental and well-being and that depression alone costs $200 million in lost workdays? Along with 81% believe on-the-job stress affects relationships with friends and family. Not to mention 1 in 5 adults experience mental health issues, and 60% of those adults aren’t seeking treatment.
When your employees spend 40-plus hours at work, there isn’t much extra time for them to deal with internal disputes or personal issues. By offering employees purposeful resources, you ensure they feel supported.
There are a few simple ways to show support to your employees. First, encourage a healthy work-life balance. Encourage them to use their vacation time, go see the doctor, and have options in places, such as flexible hours or work-from-home options to help prevent burnout.
Offer training outside of just how to do your job. Personal growth is just as important as business growth and it is hard to have one without the other.
Also, increase awareness about mental health topics. Provide education and resources from national organizations such as Mental Health America or National Alliance on Mental Illness. This will also create a comfortable environment in case an employee does have an issue and needs to discuss it with the employer.
Ensure your employees have mental health coverage as part of their medical coverage as well as an employee assistance program such as Tess, a mental health chatbot that is written by a psychologist. Giving your employees access to safe and non-judgmental space to talk about their feelings. The best part is Tess is available 24/7 with no wait times, no appointments needed and does not require an app. Tess communicates through protocols such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, and other messenger applications.
In contrast to other chatbots, Tess does not use preselected responses. She starts conversing with you immediately, and her system is designed to respond to your changing emotion and information. The results have proven that Tess significantly reduces feelings of anxiety and depression.
Talking about mental health in the workplace may not be an easy thing but it is essential to help break the stigma that is surrounding mental health issues. Giving your employees a safe and judgment-free space to talk by implementing Tess in the workplace is a small but mighty step in the right direction.