According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation Health poll, 45% of adults said that worry and stress about the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health. Now more than ever, mental health must become more of a priority in the workplace as people attempt to adjust to this new reality.
Over 43 million Americans already suffer from some sort of mental illness and the workplace can play a crucial role in making or breaking a person’s mental health.
Now that millions of people are being forced to work from home to abide by social distancing guidelines, it can be difficult to ensure that workers are able to take care of themselves mentally in isolation.
“In a pandemic response, there are three phases: preparedness, response and recovery,” William Kassler, chief medical officer of government health and human services at IBM Watson Health. “Right now if you’re asking, what can employers do, well, the time for preparedness is gone. They can only respond.”
One way to prevent the negative impact of isolation is hosting social events, such as virtual happy hours, that can keep workers engaged and boost company morale despite the circumstances.
HR can also play a significant role in connecting workers who are struggling with tools to manage their mental health. For example, HR can help curate a guide that connects workers with remote platforms, teletherapy, mental health apps and more to help them address their issues.