COVID-19 – Heightened Mental Health Awareness and Employer Appreciation
Covid-19 left its mark on societies worldwide in many ways. Beyond the physical issues, one theme that had lingered in the shadows – mental health – was brought to the forefront. As the entire world faced lockdowns, isolation, and uncertainty, the importance of mental health became glaringly evident. In response to this crisis, many employers have stepped up, recognizing the significance of mental health and providing support services for their employees. I want to speak to the mental health crisis we find ourselves in since the pandemic and give appreciation to employers who are taking these concerns to heart and are doing their part to support and care by making mental health services available.
COVID-19 brought a new era of mental health awareness. Never has mental health been talked about or sought out like the present. The fear of contracting the virus, economic instability, and the isolation caused by the lockdowns and sheltering-in-place moments took a toll on people’s mental well-being. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders ran rampant across the globe. The crisis showed all of us the fragility of mental health and made it abundantly clear that it is just as important as our physical health.
With this worldwide epidemic of mental health crises came a gift. We saw a reduction in the stigma surrounding mental health. As people shared their struggles and sought help, it became apparent that mental health challenges can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, economic status, or profession. This openness has encouraged individuals to acknowledge their own mental health needs and seek help when required. People are much more open to sharing that they started or just completed therapy and found it helpful in their mental health wellness. Administrators who sought treatment are sharing with employees, which has normalized the need for mental health treatment across the ranks.
Businesses, organizations, and schools have been pivotal in this paradigm shift. Many employers and administrators recognize that the well-being of their employees is an essential part of their company’s responsibility. They acknowledge that a healthy workforce is a more productive and resilient one. In response to this, employers have implemented various measures to support the mental health of their staff.
One way they have supported the mental health of their employees is to make services readily available. These services may include employee assistance programs (EAPs), mental health days, counseling, and resources for stress management and coping strategies, or developing a budget that allows services for all involved in the organization. By providing these services, employers show that mental health concerns are for all, not just individual concerns. They open the door for mental health needs to be talked about. They give their employees resources to seek help in this way, without it being a stigma or something lurking in the shadows that needs to be kept a secret. Employers are taking it on as a collective responsibility to encourage the mental well-being of their employees.
In these rapidly changing times, we must acknowledge and appreciate the employers who have implemented EAPs and/or mental health services to benefit their employees’ mental health and well-being. They are instrumental in bringing mental health out of the shadows and permitting their employees to take these needs seriously and find treatment for well-being and overall health. We applaud the employers and appreciate your contribution to building a more resilient and healthier workforce. We applaud you for bringing mental health into the light and encouraging your employees to care for their own mental health needs. We applaud you for caring about the well-being of your employees.
Wholeness Healing Employee Assistance Program has just completed its 10th year of providing these services. We have seen an increase in mental health needs and encourage employers to consider this benefit for their employees. Mental health services are in high demand, and participation in this program allows employees to get the services when needed. None of us escape from the necessity of paying attention to our mental health needs.
COVID-19 was a moment in time when mental health issues were brought to the forefront worldwide, making it clear that each of us better pay attention to our mental health needs. This reduction in the stigma of mental health services opened the door for us to take care of our own mental health needs. Businesses, organizations, and schools stepped up during this time, making mental health services available and permitting employees to address their mental health needs. We want to appreciate and support the employers prioritizing mental health. These employers are setting up compassionate and responsible work environments where mental health is a priority. Their proactive approach to supporting employees’ mental well-being contributes to a more motivated and productive workforce and sets a precedent for other organizations to follow. This creates a more resilient and healthier workforce and society.
If your business or organization is interested in EAP benefits, please get in touch with Trisha Watson, EAP Administrator at Wholeness Healing Center, 308.382.5297 Ext 127.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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