COVID-19 and Mental Health
Prior to the pandemic, many organizations had already begun placing an emphasis on mental health and had mental health programs in place. Uncertainty and change can increase stress and anxiety, both of which have a negative effect on mental health. Therefore, the efforts made to focus on the mental health of employees are even more imperative today. As we move through the course of the pandemic, employers are likely to see their employees struggling with anxiety, depression, burnout and, depending on how COVID has affected them and their families, possibly even trauma and PTSD.
Mental Health During and After COVID-19
Listed below are tips from Harvard Business Review on what managers can do during and after the COVID-19 pandemic to help improve employee mental health.
Model Healthy Behaviors: Leading by example is one of the best ways to promote mental health within your organization. When employees see that you prioritize your own self-care and set healthy work-life boundaries, they will feel that they are able to do that as well.
Be Vulnerable: Almost everyone has experienced discomfort during the pandemic, and it has helped to normalize the discussion of mental health challenges. Allow this vulnerability to continue throughout your organization. Talk about your own mental health battles and make it clear that you have an open-door policy for anyone to come talk to you about their struggles.
Build a Culture of Connection: Checking-in with your employees and encouraging colleagues to check-in on one another will help build a culture of connection. With so many employees working from home, and with the possibility of continuing remote work, checking-in often is even more important.
Be Inclusive and Flexible: Expect that the situation will continue to change over the next few months and even years and understand that needs will also change. Be inclusive and flexible with your offerings and support and highlight how you have been adapting your own behavior to the changing environment.
Communicate: As always, communication is key! This is especially true in times of uncertainty and frequent change. Even if you feel like you are over communicating, keep it up. Keeping your team informed can help alleviate their stress levels. In addition to communicating changes and updates, make sure to also communicate what mental health resources are available and how to use them.
For more information, visit Harvard Business Review!