What do we see every day when we turn on our tv or look at our phones; a severe health crisis that now affects millions of Americans and millions of people all over the world? One of the greatest challenges we face during these times is a plethora of uncertainties that we just can’t run from. Whether you are worried about your health or your loved ones, the effects of this Pandemic are constantly on the minds of everyone. People are constantly anxious and worried about tomorrow and the rising toll of pandemic related deaths along with large states being on fire and a once-thriving economy that now just might not survive.

To add to the stress many people now are forced to stay isolated in their homes away from the carefree lives they once knew and valuable interactions that we all were so accustomed to. Those who are fortunate to still be employed during these unprecedented times are still facing their battles. Struggling to cope and manage the challenges of the pandemic many are still maintaining very stressful mentally draining work environments that have doubled in anxiety and pressure since the pandemic.

How to identify the signs of anxiety and depression in yourself and in the workplace?

            You may be feeling all alone in your constant battle of juggling work and life while the world is in a frenzy, or you may be confused as to why every day it feels as though you can’t run from the energy-consuming worry, depression, and anxiety brought about by a combination of uncertainties. Even if you don’t understand how to cope or face these new daily obstacles, the key thing to remember is you are not alone. It may seem like all the pressure is on you but there is an even greater chance that those feeling are widely felt amongst your coworkers and many others around you. A study shows that “42% of people said their mental health had declined since the pandemic” (“Harvard Business Reviews “Greenwood, Krol, 2020). Considering that this a large percentage of individuals, it’s easy to understand how the pandemic is having a hard time being digested by many and making it even harder for those who have to work in isolation and the even more difficult demissions of communicating information properly.

A research study done by the CDC shows “Depression interferes with a person’s ability to complete physical job tasks about 20% of the time and reduces cognitive performance about 35% of the time” (CDC: “Workplace Health Promotion home”, 2019). Trying to focus on the mentally or physically draining task that your boss puts in front of you while thinking about your kids going back to school or having to have all of your meetings on a low involvement zoom call, the challenges are sometimes can be endless. Although it may be difficult its extremely important to try to identify the signs of what could be causing these mental health declines. One of the most important things to pay attention to is stress which usually leads to depression and other mental and physical health issues. If you’re having a hard time managing everything going in your life and it is leading to chronic stress symptoms such as not being able to eat, sleep or concentrate it may be time to seek some professional advice. 

What can be done to reduce common stressors;

            After everything is said and done there is a solution and steps that can be taken to handle the challenges individuals are facing in today’s workplace to better maintain their mental stability. One being taken the time out of your busy schedule to do

  • Self-care exercises: such as meditation and spending time talking to family and friends.
  • Organizing your work: can seem cliché be it is beneficial in lessening the stress that comes with the job and the added stress of the pandemic. 
  • Take deep Breathes throughout your day and try to have effective communication regularly with your mangers and workplace.

            If you still feel very overwhelmed by it all don’t be afraid to reach out to trusted health care personal as well as additional resources such as employee assistance programs, suicide prevention hotline, and the depression. Clinic. Make sure to ask your employer for extra resources and assistance.

What can you do as an employer to help?

            As an employer, you should know that your employees’ mental state is vital to your company. If employees are depressed or can’t concentrate it directly affects their performance negatively. This of course leads to many dangers for your employees as well as your business. Make sure to come up with effective strategies to recognize the signs of mental health declines in your employees early.

What should Management be doing now?

  • Encourage employees when you see them struggling on task
  • Listen and make necessary accommodations to make their jobs less complicated especially if they are working from home or online.
  • Do not normalize or dismiss their mental health concerns

Give flexibility and create an inclusive environment

  • Create a plan to offer inclusive strategies and communication.

It may be very difficult during the pandemic for employees to effectively communicate so make an effort to show them that the door for questions and concerns is always open.

  • Build a culture of connection through check-ins.
  • Make a point to have routine monthly discussions and activates concerning mental health.

A great example of this was done by the “biotech firm Roche Genentech who produced videos in which senior leaders talked about their mental health. They were shared on the company intranet as part of a campaign called #Let’sTalk”. (“Harvard Business Reviews “Greenwood, Krol, 2020). https://hbr.org/2020/08/8-ways-managers-can-support-employees-mental-health

  • Create an environment where company leaders, upper and lower management feel comfortable discussing their mental health challenges.
  • Do more than the simple phrases such as “How are you?” How was your day or weekend?”
  • “Qualtrics and SAP, nearly 40% of global employees said that no one at their company had asked them if they were doing ok”. (“Harvard Business Reviews “Greenwood, Krol, 2020). https://hbr.org/2020/08/8-ways-managers-can-support-employees-mental-health
  • The most effective Check-in strategy is genuinely asking employees if there okay can make a significant impact on your business.

    If you or someone you know suffers from symptoms of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, chronic stress, suicidal thoughts; please connect the suicide prevention hotline, crisis hotline, or the National helpline or your local emergency number for help.

Resource Links:

Suicide Prevention:

www.Suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Phone: 800-273-8255

Call free 24/7

Depression Hotline:

https://www.mentalhelp.net/depression/hotline/

Phone: 186-629-62536

Call free 24/7


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