Mental health is something that employers take seriously year round, making sure their employees are happy, healthy, and safe, but during times like we are facing now, there are more precautions employers can take to ensure the safety of their employees during stressful and fast changing times.
COVID-19 has caused many people to find themselves without a job or with less hours, stuck at home, in situations they would not typically put themselves in, with easier access to alcohol or drugs than they are when they are actively at work. This can lead to people making decisions they would not normally make, because they are lonely, depressed, or both. As a company that takes pride in ensuring the happiness, health, and safety of your employees, it is important to make sure you are providing the correct resources, especially during high stress situations like a pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, America was experiencing the effects of mental illness.
- 10.8 million workers have some kind of substance abuse due to a mental illness or other unknown factor.
- We lose approximately 35 million workers yearly to mental illness.
- Companies lose approximately $105 billion due to lack of productivity from those suffering from mental illnesses that are not treated properly.
And, health officials predict that the pandemic will cause the mental health situation to deteriorate further.
Small Steps for Better Mental Health
Here are some small first steps we as employers can take to prevent these number from skyrocketing during a pandemic, and keep our employees happy, healthy, and safe in their new and old work environments:
The first thing we can do any time, not just now, is talk about it. Removing the stigma of mental illness will make people less likely to hide their feelings, making it easier for them to ask for help and talk about what they are feeling.
Secondly, we can become more knowledgeable about mental health. We can provide literature for them to read and discuss. This is a small, fast activity that can start a larger conversation among employees. This will increase the likelihood that employees will reach out because they know their workplace is a safe place and mental health is a safe subject to talk about.
Lastly, provide resources for team managers and leaders. This will make them more comfortable with responding to issues brought to them. They will also have the proper tools and contacts in order to respond and keep their fellow employee safe and comfortable.