How to Support Employee Mental Health During COVID-19
Mental health is a topic that has been at the forefront for many employers and HR professionals for some time. And with good reason. According to the CMHC, 1 in 5 Canadians will face a mental health challenge in any given year.
But this year, those numbers could be even higher. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only making people sick physically, but it’s taking a toll on mental health as well. Some people are worried about catching the virus and maybe even dying from it. Others are worried for their elderly or immunocompromised friends and family members. Many are stressed because of the very real possibility that they may lose their income. Many employees are now working from home for the first time and they may not know how to handle it – and this stress is only compounded when they also have to be homeschool teachers for the first time.
For employers, spotting the red flags of a mental health issue can be difficult when employees are working onsite. It is that much more difficult when employees are working from home. Furthermore, many employers may be dealing with their own mental health issues at this time, wondering how they are going to keep their businesses afloat during this time of lockdown.
How can employers help their employees during this time?
Even though it may be more difficult to do right now, employers need to watch for signs of stress and anxiety among their employees. Erratic work patterns or poor-quality work may indicate that an employee is suffering from a mental health issue at this time – as might bursts of anger or negative talk. When an employer begins to notice these types of behaviour, it may be beneficial for employers to reach out to those employees and see if there is anything they can do to help.
Offer Mental Health Benefits
Another important way that employers can support their employees is to offer mental health benefits – such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or a mental wellbeing application – and make sure that all employees are aware of them. An EAP provides professional and confidential counselling over the phone, and referrals to local therapists when telephone counselling is insufficient. Remember, not all employees will feel comfortable telling their boss what is going in their personal lives, but they may be willing to speak with a counsellor. Clinically proven mental wellbeing applications, such as QuikCare Thrive offered by TeksMed, are an option for employers looking to implement an easily accessible tool for employees to cope with stress and maintain mental health on a daily basis.
SEE: Get QuikCare Thrive
Share Your Own Thoughts
Finally, employers can help their employees talk about their own mental health issues by being willing to share some of their own. When you are willing to share with your staff that you are feeling uncertain or anxious about the future, it helps to normalize their own feelings and can make them more willing to talk about them.
For employees that are working from home:
Regular communication will be extremely important for employees who are now working from home. Consider having weekly conference calls or Zoom meetings with your team. You may want to start with a quick roundtable to see how everyone is doing personally and what is on their mind.
Other ways that you can help support their mental health through this time is to provide online resources and encourage self-care.
For employees that are working onsite:
Some employees that are still coming into work every day such as factory workers, grocery store workers and healthcare workers, they may be worried about catching the virus. Make sure that you communicate regularly with what is being done to keep them safe.
Contact TeksMed Today!
If you would like additional resources and assistance for supporting your employees’ mental health during COVID-19 – including getting enrolled in QuikCare Thrive for FREE – we would love to help. Contact us today to speak with a member of our team.