Research shows that Americans are facing a mental health crisis. At gThankYou, mental health wellness is close to our hearts. We hope to help organizations make strides in sustaining a safe, welcoming environment. It will be noticed and appreciated.
The Olympics has highlighted how pervasive mental health challenges are when even elite athletes are not immune. Michael Phelps reminds us in a recent article in support of Simone Biles that “…If we’re not taking care of both [physical and mental health], how are we ever expecting to be 100%?” True for all of us, not just the elite few.
As leaders of organizations, we need to understand the poor state of our country’s mental health at this time. Then we can offer ways to help. It’s that simple. Every employee experienced some level of uncertainty and fear that surrounded the pandemic. Current mental health struggles are often related to loss, isolation, or hopelessness. But we CAN collectively address these issues.
Reboarding with Mental Health in Mind
As we continue our series on reboarding, it is prudent to discuss mental health. There are many ways to be a beacon of hope for people as we welcome them back – however that looks in your workplace.
What is Reboarding? According to HR Daily Advisor, “Reboarding is the concept of bringing individuals back who were previous employees but away for some period of time. The idea is to modify onboarding for someone who is already familiar with your company but has been away.”
The Statistics are Alarming
According to the report, “The State Of Mental Health In America” from Mental Health America, “The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. From January to September 2020, 315,220 people took the anxiety screen, a 93 percent increase over the 2019 total number of anxiety screens. 534,784 people took the depression screen, a 62 percent increase over the 2019 total number of depression screens.”
“The number of people screening with moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety has continued to increase throughout 2020 and remains higher than rates prior to COVID-19. In September 2020, the rate of moderate to severe anxiety peaked, with over 8 in 10 people who took an anxiety screen scoring with moderate to severe symptoms. Over 8 in 10 people who took a depression screen have scored with symptoms of moderate to severe depression consistently since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.”
“More people are reporting frequent thoughts of suicide and self-harm than have ever been recorded in the MHA Screening program since its launch in 2014. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread rapidly in March 2020, over 178,000 people have reported frequent suicidal ideation. 37 percent of people reported having thoughts of suicide more than half or nearly every day in September 2020.”
Ways to Help in the Workplace
Not all leaders are prepared to handle this topic. However, acknowledging that the problem exists, as does help, is a great first step. There are potential hurdles regarding access to mental health resources, but don’t let them deter you. In fact, many leaders see this as an opportunity to improve the (somewhat dismal) status quo.
We can only touch on this topic, but rounded up some excellent resources. Take the time to ensure you have a properly sized team of qualified people to lead the charge. They should do research and provide outreach to employees about what is available.
Mental Health Resources:
- Social Work License Map has a comprehensive list of 60 Digital Resources for Mental Health that, “spans diagnostic tools, research portals, government organizations, nonprofits, blogs, and phone hotlines devoted to addressing issues ranging from general mental illnesses and disorders such as autism, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse, to the specific needs of diverse populations, including LGBTQ youth, minorities, women, and veterans.”
- The National Alliance on Mental Health has vast reach and offers local resources, education, support groups, a helpline, and much more. Find a local NAMI affiliate here.
- At mentalhealth.gov, there is a Toolkit for Community Conversations About Mental Health among many other resources to open the door to dialogue about mental health and wellness.
Collectively, we can curb the stigma associated with mental health. We hope you take this opportunity to reshape your culture of health for the betterment of your employees.
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