workplace wellness https://www.mhanational.org/ en 7 Tips for Managers Addressing Burnout https://www.mhanational.org/blog/7-tips-managers-addressing-burnout <span>7 Tips for Managers Addressing Burnout</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/Picture2.jpg" alt="Hands writing in a journal next to a laptop." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/16/2020 - 10:22</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">September 23, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>By Taylor Adams, Manager of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">To prevent the spread of COVID-19, many employers have undergone unprecedented change by closing their office doors and requiring most – if not all – employees to work from home. While all employees must adapt to new routines and workplace tools, managers face the additional challenge of maintaining morale and supporting their employees during the transition. With fewer opportunities to interact candidly in-person, it may be especially difficult for managers to tell when an employee is feeling burnt out.</p> <p>As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Burnout is specific to the workplace, and there are three primary signs of burnout: exhaustion, personal efficacy, and cynicism.</p> <p>If you are a manager, it is important now more than ever to discuss the signs of burnout and solutions with your employees so they can identify issues when they come up and find ways to help you support them. Here are seven tips to help engage your employees in a conversation about burnout:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Check-in regularly.</strong> If you don’t already, make a habit of checking in regularly. It will help you build a relationship where an employee can feel comfortable about sharing.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Ask appropriate open-ended questions.</strong> If you don’t know where to start, try, “I wanted to check-in. How are you doing?”<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Actively listen </strong>with your complete attention to your employee and resist the urge to think about how you should respond next or offer advice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Recognize their feelings</strong> and express your understanding back to them.</li> <li><strong>Offer support. </strong>Ask them what they need to help them feel better or encourage them to check out the employer’s resources.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Be aware of your own stress, feelings, or thoughts that might be a barrier to being supportive. </strong>When we’re stressed out, we often can’t give others the attention they need. But attending to the situation for even 5 minutes can make a big difference.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Understand that mental illnesses are just like physical health problems.</strong> They can have flare ups that require attention but having a mental illness doesn’t reflect a person’s character or some unchangeable quality.</li> </ol> <p><a name="_Hlk48549789">For more information on how you can support your employees as a manager, you can access MHA’s </a><a href="https://mhanational.org/employeesupportguide">Employee Support Guide</a> at <a href="https://mhanational.org/employeesupportguide">https://mhanational.org/employeesupportguide</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17747&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="v9mbnN2__TNYxRw52SsklSTKmXIciZ3PYysdmXhKAik"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 16 Sep 2020 14:22:49 +0000 JCheang 17747 at https://www.mhanational.org Can I really be burnt out because of working from home? https://www.mhanational.org/blog/can-i-really-be-burnt-out-because-working-home <span>Can I really be burnt out because of working from home?</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-09/Picture1.jpg" alt="Woman sitting on a bed touching the back of her head." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/16/2020 - 10:11</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">September 16, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>By Taylor Adams, Manager of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">It has been 23 weeks since MHA began working from home because of COVID-19. Daily life has changed a lot over the course of the last five months, including more hours of sleep. Could sleeping more be the result of more time spent indoors or is it a recurring symptom of depression? (That is probably a different conversation…) Although I am getting enough sleep, I have never been more mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Instead of taking walks like I used to at the office, I find myself collapsing on my bed midday for my breaks. Why am I so tired?</p> <p>Since the start of COVID-19, many organizations moved to remote work as an alternative to working at the office, and millions of employees experienced a rapid shift in their routines, schedules, and lifestyles. People are now sharing the same space with spouses, partners, children, and pets but are still expected to maintain the same amount of productivity and communication as if they were in the office. To make up for lost time, people may be working longer hours and struggling to establish boundaries between “work” and “home”. These new challenges and change in routine can lead to chronic stress and an increased risk for burnout.</p> <p>One popular phrase circulating on social media states, “You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.” The last five months have been an unrelentless roller coaster of information, stress, and anxiety. A certain amount of stress is healthy and is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation. However, chronic stress, a state where you’re perpetually reacting with the fight or flight response, can pose serious concerns for your physical and mental health and lead to burnout.</p> <p>As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Burnout is specific to the workplace, and there are three primary signs of burnout.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Exhaustion</strong> – Restlessness, depleted energy, irritability, negative impact on relationships with family and coworkers</li> <li><strong>Personal Efficacy </strong>– Confidence in one’s ability to succeed, doing the bare minimum, easily distracted, just going through the motions</li> <li><strong>Cynicism </strong>– Withdraw from work activities, reduced feelings of empathy and responsibility towards coworkers and work, resentment and hatred towards coworkers and work</li> </ol> <p>Unfortunately, burnout doesn’t tend to go away without some type of intervention. Understanding the source of your stress or burnout can help you identify solutions for how to reduce its impact and return to a greater sense of ease.</p> <p>This may include learning techniques for stress or workload management, taking a personal day to recover, or taking a vacation to recharge. It may be time to think about changing managers, teams, or projects, or seeking out other positions or responsibilities within the organization.</p> <p>During these tumultuous times, it is completely understandable to be feeling burnt out. If you feel like you may be on the verge of burnout, please don’t hesitate to have that conversation with the appropriate person at your organization. Now is the time to challenge your understanding of burnout and how it applies to you, your manager, or your co-workers in an office or remote environment.&nbsp; For more information, you can access MHA’s <a href="https://mhanational.org/employeesupportguide">Employee Support Guide</a> at <a href="https://mhanational.org/employeesupportguide">https://mhanational.org/employeesupportguide</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17746&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="DCq8Lq6Rvd2YrQ3YE1GFe7zfFnaA8J5A1ymZ0TrFvkE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 16 Sep 2020 14:11:41 +0000 JCheang 17746 at https://www.mhanational.org Is It Time for a Staycation? The Answer May (Not) Surprise You https://www.mhanational.org/blog/it-time-staycation-answer-may-not-surprise-you <span>Is It Time for a Staycation? The Answer May (Not) Surprise You</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-06/travel%20summer_0.jpg" alt="A wooden surface with a book open with glasses sitting on top, a candle, a camera, a hat, a striped cloth, jeans, and sunglasses lying about." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Tue, 06/23/2020 - 08:31</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">June 23, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Taylor Adams, Manager of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p>Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy to feel powerless and isolated. Our inability to chat with friends and family face-to-face, grab a happy hour bite to eat with coworkers, and have a one-on-one with your boss has strained our already-tenuous balance between “work” and “life.” Zoom is now the new “office drop-in.” Emails, blogs, and newsletters flood our inboxes like there’s no tomorrow. While videoconferencing and calls can be helpful tools to stay somewhat connected and informed, they tend to sap a ton of our emotional and mental energy – a commodity that is in short supply already due to the pandemic – leaving us extremely fatigued.</p> <p>This new dynamic we are all facing can exacerbate numerous mental health issues, including burnout. Burnout is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Although burnout is specific to the workplace, people are facing stressful and traumatic events in their personal and professional lives that are being compounded by current circumstances, and thus, becoming increasingly difficult to manage.</p> <p>Similar to other mental health concerns, burnout does not go away on its own and needs a concentrated effort to help alleviate. It may not be your typical vacation, but a staycation can still help you stave off the effects of burnout, retake control of your daily rhythm, and reduce stress. For those who are working on the frontlines of COVID-19, it is especially important to find ways to care for yourself while caring for others. Here are a couple tips for when you plan your next staycation:</p> <ol> <li>Just like you don’t want to work where you sleep, you want a space where you can relax away from work. Clear your desk space, tuck away the laptop, hide your paperwork under plants -whatever you need to do to create a physical space that does not bring your attention back to work. This will hopefully kick that sense of urgency and frustration of feeling rushed when you’re thinking about that pending Zoom call at 9 in the morning and allow you to take a breath for once.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Many teleworking employees may have some extra time on their hands during this time, but still don’t feel that they have enough time to pursue their hobbies. Don’t let this stop you. Pull out the old resolutions list and start that first recipe, art project, or book. Start with one item and go at your own pace. There is no pressure or urgency when staycation “time” is your “time.” Many people agree that its difficult to focus even on simple, one-off tasks; however, stepping away from work can alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy activities that help you relax.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>While it may not be a trip to a tropical island or mountainside, a staycation should be fun as it is relaxing. Recreate the experience of a vacation away from home. <ul> <li>If you want to go to the beach, plan a tropical themed meal like a teriyaki chicken rice bowl, virgin pina colada, and coconut sorbet. Set the mood by playing ocean sounds on your phone or TV. Decorate your space with tropical plants, fruit, and decorations.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you want to go camping, pitch a tent or pillow fort in your living room. Roast marshmallows over the stovetop or warm in the microware for homemade s’mores. Project stars on your ceiling using your phone for a night of “sleeping under the stars.”<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you want to visit a new city, research the foods, museums, and monuments unique to that city. Decorate your windows with a picture of a city skyline. Cook or bake new recipes that locals swear are the best dishes in town. &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> </ul> </li> <li>Use your staycation to plan your next domestic or international trip when it does become safe to travel. This includes researching the state or country you would like to travel to, creating a realistic budget (or giving yourself unlimited funds!), choosing your ideal accommodations, learning common phrases in a new language, and making a list of regional foods to eat and monuments to visit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you aren’t able to take a staycation, find ways to reclaim your time at work. Block off one to two days or even a full week on your calendar, if possible. This can help minimize the number of calls or meetings you attend with staff and outside contacts and give you time to brainstorm your next project and focus on the tasks at hand.</li> </ol> <p>If none the above appeal to you, then do whatever that inspires, empowers, and relaxes you. The most important thing is that you give back yourself some time that seems to disappear so quickly during these stressful times.&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17460&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="2dBdWNS8zIVL1Xa9rf0UHChON7k3i5XQiGA9NqOMTIc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 23 Jun 2020 12:31:43 +0000 JCheang 17460 at https://www.mhanational.org https://www.mhanational.org/blog/it-time-staycation-answer-may-not-surprise-you#comments 5 Tips to Stay Focused When You Have No Dedicated Workspace https://www.mhanational.org/blog/5-tips-stay-focused-when-you-have-no-dedicated-workspace <span>5 Tips to Stay Focused When You Have No Dedicated Workspace</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-06/open%20calendar.jpg" alt="Open calendar" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Mon, 06/08/2020 - 17:08</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">June 15, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Taylor Adams, Manager of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p>If you are not used to working remotely, the change in routine and workspace can hinder your productivity. As someone who worked from home once a week, switching to a fully remote work schedule was a bigger challenge than I anticipated.</p> <p>For context, I live in a 750 square foot one-bedroom apartment with my partner who is also working from home five days a week. We do not have a home office, but we do have enough room for a small desk where we pile unopened mail and the occasional dirty dish. My partner and I often alternate between working at the small desk and the kitchen table with a thin wall separating us.</p> <p>During “these unprecedented times” (can we all agree to stop using this phrase?), we have discovered new ways to distract ourselves at home. Is it time for another break? Should I finally open that mail? We sometimes spend 15 minutes or more wondering why our neighbor across the way never seems to leave her desk. How does she do it? And we are perfectly capable of getting distracted without the added challenges of having pets or children.</p> <p>I am so grateful that my job grants me the means to live in this apartment, but it can be difficult to stay focused when there is no dedicated workspace. If you are struggling to stay focused, here are five tips to help you feel productive while working from home:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Create a temporary workspace. </strong>If at all possible, designate a physical space in your home that will serve as your temporary home office, including an uncluttered flat surface and a comfortable (but not too comfortable) chair. This space should be separate from where you relax or sleep, so a couch or bed may not be the best options. Invest or ask your company to invest in the proper technology to do your job, including a laptop, monitor, mouse, etc.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Communicate over shared spaces. </strong>If you are sharing a small space with a family member or partner, communicate clearly and regularly about your schedules, calls, meetings, webinars, or any other activity that might impact the other person’s work. If you only have one desk, create a plan on who will work at the desk when. If you have calls at different times, coordinate where you will take calls. Communication, courtesy, and patience are key to sharing a workspace whether in the office or at home.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Prepare as if you were going into the office. </strong>A few of us have probably indulged in rolling out of bed and immediately starting work. Sure, it feels nice to have an extra hour of sleep but forgoing any type of routine might be setting you up for a far less productive day. Instead, wake up early to take a shower and get dressed. Eat your eggs and bacon. Take a 20 or 30-minute walk around the neighborhood to simulate your morning commute (but with more fresh air and less road rage). Do what works best for you. The important thing is to feel prepared to take on the day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Stick to a schedule.</strong> You are probably familiar with the expression “take things day-by-day”, but for some, they may need to take things hour-by-hour, and that’s completely normal. Maintain a detailed to-do list for each day in one-hour increments. Be sure to incorporate lunch and breaks; they should be part of your priorities for the day, too. Finally, there is an excuse to purchase a fetching clearance calendar!<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Reward yourself when you complete a task. </strong>When you are finally settled into a workspace, prepared for the day, and ready to tackle your to-do list, reward yourself with something small for each task you complete. The reward can be a short break, time outside, a walk around the neighborhood, 5-minute YouTube video, a small piece of dark chocolate, a delicious healthy meal at the end of the workday, and definitely not a glass of wine when it’s only 2 PM. Actually, I would suggest not rewarding yourself with things that could develop into unhealthy habits like drinking excessively or eating greasy foods.</li> </ol> <p>Above all else, be kind to yourself. You do not have to hold yourself to the same standards you would be if you were in the office and, you know, not working during a pandemic. You are doing your best, and your best is enough right now.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17417&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="GwLj2WYalaooQGSkXk6mrKmcNeva0lpG9O8EvQu-iq4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 08 Jun 2020 21:08:18 +0000 JCheang 17417 at https://www.mhanational.org https://www.mhanational.org/blog/5-tips-stay-focused-when-you-have-no-dedicated-workspace#comments Compassion in a Crisis: Promoting Human Health During a Pandemic https://www.mhanational.org/blog/compassion-crisis-promoting-human-health-during-pandemic <span>Compassion in a Crisis: Promoting Human Health During a Pandemic</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-05/mixkit-human-heart-blooming-with-flowers-229-desktop-wallpaper.png" alt="human heart with flowers" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:08</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">May 15, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By John Boyd, Mental Health America Board Member and CEO for Mental Health Services &amp; Addiction Care at Sutter Health, an integrated healthcare network with more than 50,000 employees caring for the communities of Northern California, Hawaii and Southern Oregon</em></p> <p>Last year, towns throughout California faced a season of historic wildfires that displaced thousands, destroyed property and put significant strain on the state’s infrastructure. As an integrated healthcare network in the heart of Northern California, our team came together in coordinated response. In the initial minutes, hours and weeks, we mobilized to safely evacuate facilities, donate funds, redeploy resources and shift services to address emerging medical needs.</p> <p>As I proudly participated in our team’s impressive effort to serve the community during this time of great need, I saw something even more powerful than funding and clinical care at work. I saw individuals joining together to support one another in ways big and small. It rapidly became clear that in times of crisis, putting our shared humanity front and center is critical to a successful response and recovery. A key component of that is recognizing that mental health and physical health are one and the same—an idea that we call “human health.” Achieving this shift in thinking requires listening to, learning from and validating people’s lived experiences to provide services that are responsive to those experiences. These lessons from our recent past now guide us through the present moment.</p> <p>Today, millions of people are coping with the psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and for many, that impact will linger even after the immediate threat subsides. Yet, even as our society “returns to normal,” it is becoming clear that we will be different after living through this experience. Social isolation, financial stress, uncertainty about the future, fear, loss—these are the lived realities of COVID-19. They are also quintessentially human. They speak to the core of who we are and how we understand ourselves and our world—or don’t. It is incumbent on each of us to respect and value those experiences, and to center the whole person in our response. This is what human health is about, and it is a guiding principle in our strategy for confronting this pandemic as well as building a future of empathy, hardiness and mental wellbeing in our communities.</p> <p>So, what does that actually look like at Sutter Health? Here are just a few steps we’ve taken to respond to the needs of our employees and the communities we serve:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Operational Support: </strong>First and foremost, we want our team to feel safe and supported when they come into work each day. Our Sutter Health Emergency Management System team has mobilized quickly to organize PPE inventory, staff facilities appropriately, set up daycare options, deploy resources and provide information daily to meet the particular needs of the current crisis.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Adapting and Scaling Services: </strong>Building up our telepsychiatry capacity has been a priority as we strive to serve more people in need. Now, with more people working from home and in-person appointments unavailable, telepsychiatry services are more vital than ever, and we are working to meet demand.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Everyday Wellbeing: </strong>From frontline workers battling the pandemic to parents adapting to working from home while teaching young children, we are all facing unique stresses right now. In collaboration with partners like Mental Health America, we are sharing tools and resources for the full range of mental health needs.</li> </ol> <p>As we pursue these goals, of course, we are always learning, growing and adapting. Each day, just as virologists and epidemiologists expand our knowledge of the disease, we in mental health and addiction care discover new layers to its psychological impact. The most deeply human aspects of the disease—the ways it has changed our relationships, routines and emotions—may be the hardest to resolve in the long term. There is no vaccine for trauma. We don’t become immune to grief through exposure.</p> <p>In the wake of the California wildfires and other natural disasters, studies have shown a high incidence of PTSD, anxiety and depression among survivors. Researchers and experts have already predicted similar outcomes, not only during the acute phase of COVID-19, but long after incidence rates begin to fall. In New York, the epicenter of the crisis in the United States, an EMT first responder and an ER doctor both died of suicide in the same weekend. Working on the front lines of the response, these workers, like so many others, were forced to confront death and suffering on a scale most of us cannot imagine. We should honor their memories and admire their heroism, and we should also reflect on what their deaths mean.</p> <p>These tragedies must bring attention to the broader need for mental health support in our society, especially in times of crisis. To achieve this, we need to move beyond the distinctions between mental and physical health, and see people for who they are: humans. We should also acknowledge that this responsibility falls on all of us to bring more compassion, empathy and understanding into our world. From simply complying with stay-at-home orders to supporting essential workers, people around the country are already demonstrating their capacity to look out for their fellow human beings. It will be critical for all of us in healthcare to remember these lessons and further breakdown barriers to care—even after we put away the extra masks and hand sanitizer. Our future depends on it.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17384&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="ZMu4fHPyAFOYLaMUho7kApkVdbEwkJ8BSVOagjfFJmY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 11 May 2020 15:08:35 +0000 JCheang 17384 at https://www.mhanational.org https://www.mhanational.org/blog/compassion-crisis-promoting-human-health-during-pandemic#comments 8 Employers Supporting Employee Mental Health during COVID-19 https://www.mhanational.org/blog/8-employers-supporting-employee-mental-health-during-covid-19 <span>8 Employers Supporting Employee Mental Health during COVID-19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-05/in%20plaid_0.jpg" alt="typing in plaid" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/05/2020 - 08:10</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">May 05, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Taylor Adams, Manager of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p>Large and small employers across all industries are quickly adapting to changes brought on by COVID-19. As an immediate response, many employers have transitioned to fully remote or semi-remote work environments, which can be stressful, lonely, or isolating for some employees. In addition to addressing health and safety concerns, many employers are finding ways to support their employees’ mental health to better cope in this new reality.</p> <p>Here at MHA, many of us have faced our own anxieties around staying safe, healthy, and connected. Fortunately, our leadership acknowledged these concerns and asked employees how MHA can best support them during this time. Based on feedback from staff, leadership responded with additional PTO, schedule flexibility, positivity breaks during staff meetings, and self-care packages.</p> <p>And thankfully, MHA is not the only organization recognizing the mental health impact of this pandemic. From mental health awareness campaigns to one-on-one counseling to meditation, here are seven companies who shared with us how they are supporting employee mental health during COVID-19:</p> <p><strong>1. Chevron Corporation</strong></p> <p>“Chevron has always been a strong advocate for mental and physical health and well-being support resources, especially during times of crisis. Our Employee Assistance and WorkLife Services program provides access to licensed counselors to help employees cope with fear, anxiety and other emotions or concerns they may have. Currently, a corporate-wide mental health campaign is underway to increase awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental health. Self-guided resilience resources are also accessible for all employees.</p> <p>“Equally as important are healthy lifestyle behaviors that contribute to physical, emotional and social health. Physical activity, balanced diet, and adequate sleep are frequently reinforced, in addition to ergonomics and repetitive stress injury prevention for employees working remotely. Extra emphasis is being given to infection prevention safeguards to help protect our health, regardless of work location.</p> <p>“In addition, Chevron is helping communities and nonprofits address COVID-19. In the U.S., we have donated more than $3.5 million to local relief efforts and an additional $2 million to match 2:1 employee contributions to U.S.-based nonprofits. Outside the U.S., we continue to work with partners on a variety of health-related response efforts and have committed more than $12 million total around the world.”</p> <p><em>Chevron Corporation is one of the world's leading integrated energy companies. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemicals and additives; generates power; and develops and deploys technologies that enhance business value in every aspect of the company's operations.</em></p> <p><em>In 2018, Chevron Corporation was the annual recipient of MHA’s Corporate Excellence Award for their commitment to creating a mentally healthy workplace for employees.</em></p> <p><strong>2. Culligan Water</strong></p> <p>“With the rapid development of the pandemic, Packard Culligan Water identified the need to ensure mental health was a part of their strategy to help deepen the trust and commitment of employees and to sustain beyond this pivotal time.</p> <p>“Because of the company’s established commitment to well-being, employees have access to various resources already in place, including an onsite HealthSource Solutions Well-being Program Manager and health coach, virtual well-being portal, and Employee Assistance Program counseling.</p> <p>Culligan is now also offering the following at no cost to employees:</p> <ul> <li>Weekly self-care videos</li> <li>1:1 health coaching for employees and their spouses</li> <li>Manager well-being calls</li> <li>Weekly well-being communications</li> <li>Live meditation sessions and activity breaks</li> <li>Resiliency and stress management activities</li> <li>Morale boosting activities</li> </ul> <p>“In addition, one of the company’s owners spoke personally to mental well-being in an all-employee video communication. He shared his mental health activities while encouraging employees to practice self-care and utilize resources. Culligan is utilizing leadership testimonials to inspire, engage and empower Culligan employees on a personal level to take care of their mental health.”</p> <p><em>Culligan Water is a professional water treatment and bottled water company, utilizing its resources to be a valued partner in their communities. They provide education and solutions to water issues with an emphasis on customer satisfaction.</em></p> <p><strong>3. Devils Backbone Brewing Company</strong></p> <p>“To ensure the health and well-being of our employees, Devils Backbone Brewing Company has been working hard to engage our staff in fun and meaningful ways, and to ensure their ongoing safety. At our facilities, we have implemented daily temperature checks, distributed homemade masks, and rolled out social distancing criteria to protect our employees’ physical health.</p> <p>“We have also hosted a variety of themed happy hours on Zoom, from a lip sync battle to Disney to Halloween. Our teams have organized a special Zoom meeting for parents who are balancing childcare with remote work, and we have encouraged professional development by starting a virtual book club and offering courses through LinkedIn Learning.</p> <p>“Our standing policy of self-managed leave has been especially valuable for staff knowing they have the flexibility and support to take time off, even if that time is spent at home away from work. We continue to invite ideas from staff about ways to stay engaged, remain healthy, and reduce stress as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.”</p> <p><em>The Devils Backbone Brewing Company is a brewpub located in Roseland, Virginia, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. It was established in 2008 by Steven Crandall. In 2012, a 15,000 square foot production facility and tap room, referred to as "The Outpost", was established near Lexington, Virginia.</em></p> <p><em>As part of Devils Backbone’s community impact program called the Heartland Initiative, Devil's Backbone created an Adventure Pack with the intent to support nonprofits that employees selected. As part of the Pack, employees brewed a signature beer they called Bell of Hope with the goal of fundraising on MHA’s behalf and mission. The Adventure Pack was sold regionally in the fall of 2019.</em></p> <p><strong>4. EY</strong></p> <p>“To support their people through the pandemic, EY enhanced an already comprehensive suite of offerings around emotional well-being. Employees can access free mobile apps for building emotional resilience and improving sleep habits. In addition to one-one counseling with EY or external clinicians, the company added daily group counseling sessions for parents, adult caregivers, and people caring for family members with disabilities.</p> <p>“To supplement its free twelve-week course on mindfulness and daily scheduled practice sessions, EY began daily drop-in sessions combining short mindfulness exercises with practical tips for managing anxiety, social isolation, feeling overwhelmed, etc. Backup adult and childcare support was extended and virtual yoga, workout classes and volunteer opportunities were added.</p> <p>“We know that feeling a sense of purpose and “an attitude of gratitude” positively impact mental health. A few weeks into the crisis, EY’s Global Chairman personally launched a recognition program highlighting EY people doing exceptional things to support one another, their communities, or their clients. On social media, via video, in articles and on live Webcasts, our top leaders those share their stories and how each “EY hero” is living our purpose of Building a Better Working World.”</p> <p><em>EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.</em></p> <p><strong>5. Financial Times</strong></p> <p>“Here at the Financial Times, we have really shifted the focus onto the mental well-being of our employees and how we can best provide support. We have mobilized our internal network of mental health ambassadors to ensure all employees know they have that resource for support. We have also partnered extensively with our Employee Assistance Provider to not only provide their regular one-on-one counselling but also to provide bespoke webinars for our employees on a variety of topics.</p> <p>“We already provide meditation via Headspace, but they have been a helpful partner in providing free meditation sessions for our non-members. In addition, one of our colleagues leads a weekly, virtual, guided meditation session for all to join.</p> <p>“We have also tried to understand the impact that a reduction in social connections may have on employee’s mental well-being, so we hold a fortnightly “keeping connected” session during which we meet on video and share tips on topics like staying active and great podcasts. Finally, we are planning for our annual mental health awareness week in the middle of May which this year will all be run virtually. We will be holding several workshops on topics like better sleep in addition to some animal therapy with a virtual tour of an animal sanctuary which employees will be invited to attend with their families.”</p> <p><em>The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading news organizations, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.</em></p> <p><strong>6. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&amp;E)</strong></p> <p>“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, PG&amp;E has put employee and public health and safety at the forefront of its decisions and actions. Recognizing the potential psychological toll of this health crisis, the company has addressed this issue in multiple ways:</p> <ul> <li>Executive messages: In videos, emails and weekly all-employee calls, the company’s CEO and President, Andrew Vesey, has reiterated the importance of employees not ignoring their mental health, and reaching out for support when needed.</li> <li>Companywide communications: Through newsletters, webinars, and podcasts, the company has tackled the issue head-on, exploring related topics like stigma, relationships, anxiety, balancing work and life, homeschooling, and staying connected while physical distancing.</li> <li>User-generated content: Employees have shared their stories on caring for a child with special needs during the pandemic and accessing drug and alcohol recovery services virtually.</li> <li>Website: The company established an intranet page—and later built an entire website—dedicated to the topic, giving employees an easy and confidential way to access health information. On the intranet, the company posted a virtual gratitude board where employees can share what they are grateful for.</li> <li>Person-to-person assistance: PG&amp;E set up a dedicated branch of its HR phone line to assist employees looking for answers on topics such as medical, compensation, and benefits. PG&amp;E also provided resources on domestic abuse for employees who may be in a more precarious situation due to the pandemic. Counseling has gone virtual through the Employee Assistance Program’s on site and community-based counselors.”</li> </ul> <p><em>Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&amp;E), incorporated in California in 1905, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, the company is a subsidiary of PG&amp;E Corporation. There are approximately 24,000 employees who carry out Pacific Gas and Electric Company's primary business—the transmission and delivery of energy.</em></p> <p><strong>7. TIAA</strong></p> <p>“TIAA offers a range of communications forums and benefits to support the mental and emotional health of associates and ensure they have the information, resources, and support during COVID-19. &nbsp;</p> <p>“Executive committee members to frontline managers are engaged in helping associates during this challenging time.&nbsp; TIAA’s Employee Assistance Program and wellness web portal also provide a variety of resources for associates and their family members.&nbsp; Included below are some examples of ongoing activities:</p> <ul> <li>All-Associate calls with CEO Roger Ferguson and other executive committee members, which contain business updates and Q&amp;A sessions.</li> <li>All-Associate calls with TIAA senior leaders and mental health professionals to discuss the available resources, support and answer questions.</li> <li>Presentations on COVID-19 related stress and mental health resources during business area and individual team calls across the company as well as a video and one-pager on the mental health resources available to associates on the TIAA intranet.</li> <li>Monthly Healthy Habits challenges related to COVID-19 and mental health for associates in April and planned for May.</li> <li>Mindful Moment meditation sessions for associates three days a week.</li> <li>Increased daily and weekly postings of virtual challenges and wellness content to engage associates on the web portal and Yammer, such as a Work from Home photo contest.</li> <li>Creating a piece for associates and their family members on mental health resources that will be mailed to their homes.</li> <li>COVID-19 Central, an intranet resource page with information, insights and a special section, Working Effectively in Today's Environment, where associates will find new events, tools, guides and articles each week to help them to stay connected and engaged with others across the organization.</li> </ul> <p>“Recognizing the significant impact Covid-19 has on daily life, TIAA leaders and managers are encouraging associates to break away from work in stressful times in order to recharge and feel well.</p> <p>TIAA also provides the following benefits:</p> <ul> <li>Enhanced Backup Care benefits, by providing a higher daily benefit of $100/per day (from $65/per day) per dependent for up to two dependents through year end; and granting current program users an additional 20 days of support for U.S. associates.</li> <li>100% Coverage for Covid-19 medical care and treatment for U.S. associates and dependents covered by an Aetna or Kaiser option under the TIAA medical plan.&nbsp; Deductible and coinsurance will be waived completely for testing, physician visits and hospitalization, as necessary.”</li> </ul> <p><em>Founded more than 100 years ago by one of history’s great philanthropists, Andrew Carnegie, TIAA is committed to helping institutions and individuals pursue positive outcomes through an array of global, diversified financial services and a long-term investment perspective.</em></p> <p><em>Having grown into a Fortune 100 financial services organization, we are grounded by our core values, committed to responsible investing and dedicated to being a force for good, building on our legacy of serving the broad financial needs of those who make a difference in the world.</em></p> <p><strong>8. Verizon Media</strong></p> <p>“At Verizon Media, we care deeply about our employees’ mental health and emotional wellness. Our focus is on breaking down stigmas and encouraging empathy, awareness and understanding. In the wake of COVID-19, we expanded our resources to support our employees’ mental health. We launched a daily newsletter providing resources to help cope with&nbsp;isolation, anxiety and stress, and created toolkits with tips for leaders to support their teams.</p> <p>“We hold virtual Q&amp;A sessions with the CEO and guest speakers to address issues affecting mental health. Dr. Jennifer Lanier Payne, associate director of psychiatry at John Hopkins, led a session on managing mental health during COVID-19, and employees heard from world renowned expert in alternative medicine, Deepak Chopra.</p> <p>“In May, our Neurodiversity Employee Resource Group will lead a conversation with <a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/0007657/marco-grados">Dr. Marco Grados</a>, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins, on mental health and neurodivergence co-occurrence. We expanded our Mindfulness program to offer alternative resources that help employees manage stress, improve sleep and cope with anxiety, and access to virtual crisis counseling sessions.</p> <p>“We are also featuring stories from employees who are sharing their experiences in the hopes of sparking important conversations.&nbsp; We are committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace.</p> <p>“We remain committed to making a positive impact on the global community during this uncertain time.&nbsp; We recently donated $10 million in ad inventory to five nonprofit organizations raising awareness on mental health, WHO and the CDC to provide a platform for their public service advisories on COVID-19 and to ensure high-risk communities have access to the latest science-based information.&nbsp; We also partnered with the Ad Council to support their PSA campaigns to raise awareness on social distancing and mental health.”</p> <p><em>Verizon Media is a division of Verizon. They house a trusted media ecosystem reaching nearly one billion consumers through their premium brands - including Yahoo, HuffPost, TechCrunch and AOL - and best-in-class ad and media streaming platforms. The company’s state of the art technology and innovation is uniquely positioned to create live and video-on-demand digital, audio and mobile experiences that are both market-tailored and globally distributed.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17366&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="ZQ3jFiFKY8fKOODdKct9FJm_ZMsCFPxo9u9zpzD2QB0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 05 May 2020 12:10:12 +0000 JCheang 17366 at https://www.mhanational.org https://www.mhanational.org/blog/8-employers-supporting-employee-mental-health-during-covid-19#comments Your Employees are Stressed: Why Digital Mental Health Solutions are Important in These Unpredictable Times and Beyond https://www.mhanational.org/blog/your-employees-are-stressed-why-digital-mental-health-solutions-are-important-these <span>Your Employees are Stressed: Why Digital Mental Health Solutions are Important in These Unpredictable Times and Beyond</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-04/brows.jpg" alt="Man furrowing brows" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Tue, 04/14/2020 - 13:26</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">April 16, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain</em></p> <p>On average each of us will spend one-third of our adult life at work. Workplace leaders have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to ensure the mental health of their employees through innovative solutions and forward-thinking programs. This was true yesterday. It will be true tomorrow. And without a doubt, amid the COVID-19 crisis, it is true today. &nbsp;</p> <p>In early March 2020, <a href="https://www.totalbrain.com/total-brain-offers-us-companies-a-free-3-month-subscription-to-employee-mental-health-wellness-platform/">Total Brain research</a> indicated that more than half of US workers (58 percent) are anxious in the face of the global pandemic. Further, almost two in five (35 percent) report that this anxiety is interfering with their workplace productivity, while one in four state that it is negatively impacting the quality of their work. Yet, nearly two in five employees report having little to no access to mental health resources. More recently, a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/washington-post-abc-news-poll-march-22-25-2020/974c3312-5a40-4764-afb1-4bb6b86f1cf4/?itid=lk_inline_manual_2&amp;itid=lk_inline_manual_2">Washington Post-ABC News poll</a> showed 77 percent of American women and 61 percent of men reported feeling stressed.&nbsp;</p> <p>This global contagion is placing a much-needed spotlight on the impact of high stress levels in the workplace. The human and economic impact is enormous. It would be all too simple to place the blame solely on the coronavirus. Yes, workforces are suffering and so is business because of this pandemic; however, stress was here before and will continue well after the world gets back to normal. Consider this: health care expenditures at high-pressure companies are nearly <a href="http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/11/642">50% greater</a> than at other organizations. The American Psychological Association <a href="http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2014/stress-report.pdf">estimates</a> that more than $500 billion is siphoned off from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job.</p> <p>While many would argue that the stress-inducing, always-on workplace of today is driven by technology; I argue that technology can also be THE answer. Indeed, in this day and age, we can apply digital neuroscience to monitor, support and maintain workforce mental health and wellness. Here are three reasons companies should consider digital mental health and wellness solutions to help employees suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues:</p> <ul> <li><em>Approachable (No stigma).</em> By offering an anonymous digital mental health and wellness channel, employees - many who may be too timid to bring up mental health issues within the corporate setting - can explore resources and educate themselves without concern for involving third parties.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>Accessible</em>. Mobile mental health and well-being programs enable people to access mental health resources from anywhere at any time. This is especially beneficial now with the vast majority of people being quarantined in their homes and working amidst new challenges to productivity and focus.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>Actionable. </em>Personalized data can help people identify mental health challenges and support self-care. Further, robust anonymized data benchmarking and trending details enables companies to understand the mindset of their employees as a whole and better respond to their overall mental health and wellness needs.</li> </ul> <p>We are living in unprecedented and unpredictable times. People are vulnerable to stress and anxiety like never before. Negative emotions are contagious and can amplify quickly. They can transform culture irreparably. A high-stress work culture is a lose-lose proposition. Companies that disregard the mental health of their employees incur hidden costs that over time will threaten the bottom line. That was true yesterday. It will be true tomorrow. And it is most certainly true today.</p> <hr /> <p><img align="left" alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="146" src="/sites/default/files/louis%20gagnon.jpg" width="146" /><em>Louis Gagnon is the CEO of <a href="http://www.totalbrain.com">Total Brain</a>, a mental health and wellness platform powered by the world’s largest standardized neuroscientific database.&nbsp; He is Advisor to TPG Capital, a top-tier US private equity firm who named him CEO of Ride, a portfolio company that he restructured.&nbsp; As a corporate executive, Louis held dual Chief Product Officer and Chief Marketing Officer roles at Audible/Amazon, Yodle and Monster Worldwide.&nbsp; As an entrepreneur, Louis created and led five business and social enterprises on four continents, many of which were in the field of reproductive health.&nbsp; He received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Laval University in Quebec City and a Master of Science in Marketing from HEC-Montreal. His work has been featured in a number of management books and magazines including The Economist.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17307&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="Es1RMR5t4bBd8yCyhtYoa069kDauAkhqgFy8SR6BsH0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 14 Apr 2020 17:26:25 +0000 JCheang 17307 at https://www.mhanational.org https://www.mhanational.org/blog/your-employees-are-stressed-why-digital-mental-health-solutions-are-important-these#comments A Message Employers Need to Hear: The “New Normal” Includes Looking After Employee Mental Wellness https://www.mhanational.org/blog/message-employers-need-hear-new-normal-includes-looking-after-employee-mental-wellness <span>A Message Employers Need to Hear: The “New Normal” Includes Looking After Employee Mental Wellness</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-04/african-american-woman-employee-facial-expression-furnitures-1181649.jpg" alt="Woman looking out the window" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Mon, 04/06/2020 - 13:18</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">April 08, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Keita Franklin, Ph.D., Chief Clinical Officer at Psych Hub</em></p> <p><strong>Today’s “new normal” is more than a remote work site, virtual happy hours, and social distancing in public. The new normal is also a constant state of anxiety, uncertainty, and stress that impact everyone’s mental health in different ways. Many employers are taking aggressive and innovative action to ensure the survival of their companies. Meetings and events are migrating into the virtual space and companies are developing business plans to remain financially solvent in the face of a volatile and uncertain future. In doing so, many companies are pushing employees to contribute in more creative ways and to remain constantly connected while knowing their continued employment is unclear. It’s a lot to ask of employees who are already under high degrees of stress. In today’s unusual working world, it is more important than ever for employers to consider workplace mental wellness as a critical element of business practices.</strong></p> <p>------------------------------------------------------</p> <p>Stress and anxiety impacts employees and their families in so many harmful ways. How do I know this? Because I’ve seen a nation ravaged by fear before. And I’ve also seen how that fear can erode mental wellness.&nbsp;</p> <p>As a young social worker on September 11th, 2001, I was serving at McChord Air Force Base in the Family Advocacy Program. My colleagues and I served a military installation of more than 7,000 military and civilian personnel and their families. Like all other military bases, the seamless functioning of McChord Air Force Base was based on organization, discipline, and social control. Following the events of 9/11 however, I witnessed a country thrust into a state of high stress and uncertainty.&nbsp;Similar to what we’re experiencing now, 9/11 changed our daily lives.&nbsp;Military bases were locked down.&nbsp;Domestic flights were grounded.&nbsp;The stock market dropped precipitously. And even basic services, such as cell phone coverage, were significantly limited. The tragic events of 9/11 impacted everyone across the nation and the military community at McChord Air Force Base was not immune.&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite all of the logistical turmoil and economic unrest, perhaps the worst was the uncertainty of what tomorrow would look like. Nobody knew what was going to happen next. Our minds churned with unanswerable questions such as:&nbsp;<em>Were the terrorist attacks over?&nbsp;What should I do to protect my family?&nbsp;Where will I be able to get help if I need it?</em></p> <p>During this time, I ran a “Deployed Spouse Support” group. As you can imagine, the uncertainty among military members and their families was even greater.&nbsp;<em>Is my husband or wife, son or daughter, going to war?&nbsp;How long will they be gone?&nbsp;Will I be able to talk to them?&nbsp;</em>These were questions we couldn’t answer for the families, but we knew our first duty, at its most basic, was to comfort them.&nbsp;To help alleviate the stress.&nbsp;To reduce the anxiety.&nbsp;And we knew this began with providing social support and helping them to avoid social isolation.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Deployed Spouse Support group was as small as 15 regular attendees.&nbsp;Following 9/11 and subsequent deployment of a large segment of the base, these groups swelled to well over 125 spouses and family members.&nbsp;Where we used to hold the support group once a week, we began holding it three times a week, and military spouses were often called upon to respond to emergent family issues 24/7. The demand for comfort through connectiveness was higher than it had ever been.</p> <p>I tell this story not to compare 9/11 to the COVID-19 pandemic, but rather to highlight the fact that people seek social connectedness during times of high stress and anxiety.&nbsp;What makes our current situation so challenging for employers is the remedy for slowing the spread of coronavirus<a name="_Hlk37006296">—</a>social isolation—also creates significant risk factors for emotional wellbeing.&nbsp;In other words, you have a period of high stress and anxiety and limited social connectedness.&nbsp;</p> <p>In such an environment, employers will need to find creative solutions to look after employee mental wellness. Here are some specific actions employers can take during this unusual time:</p> <p><u><strong>Encourage Social Connectedness</strong></u><br /> From a morning coffee chat to a virtual happy hour, hosting online social activities to connect your employees with each other can change the tone and trajectory of their days – and their moods! Keep in mind that your employees have all different kinds of home lives. Some may not have family members in their households to talk about the anxiety they might be experiencing. Some might be feeling added stress without the ability to leave their personal lives behind for at least eight hours a day. You should also be particularly mindful that many might be feeling a significant work-life imbalance in the new remote work environment. Offering fun, pressure-free opportunities for them to connect with each other can help to alleviate some of these stressors and create a sense of normalcy.</p> <p><u><strong>Set Clear Boundaries for Remote Work</strong></u><br /> Make an effort to keep standard working hours during this time of remote work. Be straightforward and communicative about your expectations for working overtime, lunch, and breaks, as well as after-hours connectivity. It will also be helpful to set clear boundaries about work structure, such as availability for meetings and maintaining project deadlines. Most of all, lead by example and ensure that supervisors are remaining consistent with time management and accountability.</p> <p><u><strong>Get Creative with Your Communications</strong></u><br /> Working remotely is easier for some than others. Introverted or creative employees, for instance, typically are naturally independent workers. In this environment, their contributions can be less visible, and they may struggle with understanding how to communicate their ideas in group video or conference calls. Conversely, employees who thrive in a team environment may suddenly feel unanchored and isolated, less confident in their ability to see “the big picture.” Develop flexible and varied means for employees to contribute during this time. Whether it’s something as whimsical as turning a brainstorming session into a contest, or requesting input through an anonymous poll, get creative about how you engage your employees.</p> <p><u><strong>Ensure Wellness Resources Are Readily Available</strong></u><br /> Even if you believe your workplace wellness program is visible and well-communicated, this is not the time to take for granted its saturation. You cannot overcommunicate to your employees concerning the resources your organization has available, because you cannot predict when they may need to avail themselves of those resources. Some employees may seem as though they are adjusting to the current environment well, but that may change as the environment changes. Relaunch your wellness resources, distribute them widely, inject messaging about them into your all staff meetings, and repeat these steps as often as weekly during this time of additional stress. If you have the means to provide mental health experts through your Employee Assistance Program, ensure the provider has a telehealth option and that your employees know that counseling is available to them.</p> <p><u><strong>Provide Hope, But Be Transparent</strong></u><br /> As employers, you need to motivate your employees now, more than ever, to maintain productivity. Keeping spirits up and providing hope is vital to employee morale. But keep it real. Acknowledge challenges your company may be anticipating, even if that includes budgetary concerns that could lead to staffing changes. Your employees are thinking about these possibilities anyway, so ignoring it will only damage morale as imaginations and uninformed chatter will add to their anxiety. Be firm in your commitment to maintaining normal operations, while acknowledging the volatility of the environment may influence the health of the organization. Above all, let employees know they are valued and that you are taking every possible step to ensure job security and fiscal health across the organization.</p> <p><u><strong>Final Word</strong></u></p> <p>There is no way to predict how the current pandemic will ultimately affect the nation’s economy, let alone your organization. American businesses are pivoting to remain relevant and operational during this unique time. To do that, you will need a workforce that is capable of pivoting with you. In addition to usual work stressors, your employees are operating with immediate concerns for their health and safety, while simultaneously dealing with a transformed work structure that includes new procedures and less coworker support. Make their mental wellness your priority, and you will develop a stronger, more productive workforce with which to move forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>For more resources to support your mental health needs during COVID-19, visit: <a href="https://psychhub.com/covid-19/">https://psychhub.com/covid-19/</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17296&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="Otk4vgM56OavCaDk7aWimnwfJ5XeIm840R8QZeAaAVY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 06 Apr 2020 17:18:58 +0000 JCheang 17296 at https://www.mhanational.org https://www.mhanational.org/blog/message-employers-need-hear-new-normal-includes-looking-after-employee-mental-wellness#comments 5 Things Managers Can Do During COVID-19 https://www.mhanational.org/blog/5-things-managers-can-do-during-covid-19 <span>5 Things Managers Can Do During COVID-19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-03/5%20things%20managers%20can%20do.jpg" alt="A laptop on top of a brown sofa with shoes nearby." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Tue, 03/31/2020 - 14:03</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">March 31, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Taylor Adams, Manager of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p>As employers respond to COVID-19, employees across the nation are feeling its impact. Across all industries, employees are finding ways to cope with the rapidly changing environment. For employees who manage others, they are making decisions on issues that they may never have faced before in their careers. As managers consider their own concerns, they also need to help manage the concerns of their employees.</p> <p>Fortunately, managers can lean into practices with which they are already familiar and have proven to be effective. This includes regular check-ins with employees and providing guidance on expectations and workload management. In fact, it’s important now more than ever that managers rely on those practices. Here are five things you can do during COVID-19. Your employees (and you) will thank you for it.</p> <h4>1. Be Flexible</h4> <p>As offices close, new and regular remote workers alike are adjusting their routine and work environment at home. As businesses and schools close, workers may be facing additional challenges such as: preparing to self-quarantine for an extended period; homeschooling children across different age groups; navigating a routine at home free from distraction; or trying to manage stress or anxiety that relentless media coverage only intensifies. It can all be so overwhelming, but as a manager, you can help.</p> <p>Typically, managers provide guidance to their employees on expectations, workload, and time management. During these atypical times, managers need to recognize that employees are still adjusting to a routine and new work environment. Now is the time to be patient and flexible with your employees.</p> <p>At a time that works for you and your employees, schedule individual virtual meetings to discuss and negotiate realistic expectations about responsibilities and strategize how to best meet these expectations under the given circumstances. In addition, focus on the goals you and your employees seek to accomplish rather than the hours logged each day. Being empathetic, patient, and flexible as a manager can mean a lot for employees who are still adjusting.</p> <h4>2. Stay Connected</h4> <p>Creating an environment of open communication contributes to a more energetic and productive workforce, and this is especially true as the environment shifts virtually. According to MHA’s research, having positive relationships with coworkers and managers is the top reason employees feel satisfied at work. Connection is important, and as a manager, you can help facilitate how your employees stay connected.</p> <p>One example might be hosting optional 30-minute video calls to encourage employees to discuss matters unrelated to work including advice on how to handle common stressors and activities to cope. Another example is having employees contribute to a weekly newsletter that includes favorite indoor activities, recipes, and exercise routines.</p> <h4>3. Be Supportive</h4> <p>Regular check-ins with your employees can help you better understand their needs and provide the appropriate support. Check-ins may need to be more or less frequent depending on the employee. It’s likely that everyone is feeling a wide range of emotions as the crisis unfolds, including stress, anxiety, and sadness. If an employee comes to you with a mental health concern, here’s how you can help guide the conversation:</p> <ul> <li>Ask appropriate open-ended questions.</li> <li>Actively listen with your complete attention to the employee.</li> <li>Resist the urge to think about how you should respond next or offer advice.</li> <li>Recognize their feelings and express your understanding back to them.</li> <li>Don’t be afraid to relate on a personal level.</li> <li>Encourage them to use the organization’s mental health resources (e.g. EAP services or teletherapy).</li> <li>Make sure that you are well-supported before offering support to others.</li> </ul> <p>In addition, you can offer online mental health screening as a resource to all employees. Through our online screening program, MHA offers free, confidential, and anonymous mental health screens for nine conditions including anxiety. After completing their screening, individuals receive immediate results, education, resources, and linkage to affiliates. Encourage your employees to take a mental health screen at <a href="https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools">https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools</a>.</p> <p>Share the latest resources on COVID-19 with your employees. MHA has created a new COVID-19 webpage at <a href="http://www.mhanational.org/covid19">www.mhanational.org/covid19</a> to keep people updated and informed with COVID-19 specific content and resources. When important information is shared within your organization, be clear and concise when communicating this to your employees. A good working relationship thrives on trust, and your employees will appreciate the transparency.</p> <h4>4. Practice Self-care</h4> <p>You may be doing all you can to ensure your employees are well-supported, but how are you doing? No, really? If you are experiencing pressure to keep things together, it is incredibly important that you are taking care of yourself. A little self-care can alleviate stress and help you tackle challenges with a clear mind.</p> <p>Here a few things you can try to take care of your own needs: stay organized and prioritize (you don’t need to work harder when working from home); take frequent breaks (outdoor walks while practicing social distancing); practice meditation, breathing, or expressing gratitude (it’s as good as time as any to practice a new habit); or video chat with a loved one.</p> <h4>5. Get Creative</h4> <p>When people are forced into new situations, they are also forced to think about new ways of adapting. Major disruptions to daily routine are scary, but it can also serve as an opportunity for creative thinking and trying new solutions.</p> <p>For example, having a conversation with your employees about tasks that are better suited for remote work can help reframe the situation in a more positive and productive way. Or discuss how you are feeling about no longer dealing with a long and frustrating commute or skipping breakfast to get to work on time.</p> <p>It may be while before daily life returns to normal, but managers can play a meaningful role in helping their employees cope during the present circumstances, including taking care of themselves. For the latest COVID-19 resources, please visit <a href="http://www.mhanational.org/covid19">www.mhanational.org/covid19</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/covid19" hreflang="en">COVID19</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17287&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="FQmrGTHzbiiKg6BnxnamVJm24bswvUFe6t_kviDJzrk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 31 Mar 2020 18:03:13 +0000 JCheang 17287 at https://www.mhanational.org https://www.mhanational.org/blog/5-things-managers-can-do-during-covid-19#comments 5 Ways to Encourage Mental Health in the Workplace https://www.mhanational.org/blog/5-ways-encourage-mental-health-workplace <span>5 Ways to Encourage Mental Health in the Workplace</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-post-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <div class="item-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-03/startup-594090_1280.jpg" alt="Group of individuals at a table with laptops, notebooks, and a mug strewn about." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Wed, 03/04/2020 - 14:30</span> <div class="field field--name-field-post-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field__item">March 16, 2020 </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Keita Franklin, Ph.D. Chief Clinical Officer at Psych Hub and Taylor Adams, Manager of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America</em></p> <p><strong>Which of these statements are true?</strong></p> <ul> <li>Employees feel comfortable talking to their supervisors about their stress.</li> <li>Employees feel safe using sick days to care for their mental health.</li> <li>Employees can receive treatment for their mental health without scrutiny from their supervisors or colleagues.</li> </ul> <p>From mental health experts to individuals with lived experience, all of these statements should be true; unfortunately, this is not the case for a lot of Americans, especially for those in the workforce. According to Mental Health America’s (MHA) 2019 Work Health Survey, 69 percent of employees reported that it was safer to remain silent about their stress, and over half reported they were afraid to take a day off to attend to their mental health.</p> <p>Suicide is one of the nation’s leading causes of death, claiming the lives of more than 47,000 Americans each year. It is a national health crisis. Until we recognize its profound impact, the stigma around mental health will continue to directly contribute to loss of life.</p> <p>Mental health experts who subscribe to a larger public health approach to suicide prevention advise creating cultures of support that are free of stigma and where help is not only easily accessible, but it is encouraged. This approach is becoming particularly critical in corporate America, where recent <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf">studies</a>&nbsp;reveal an 11 percent increase in workplace suicides.</p> <p>Here are five things employers can do right now to support workplace mental health:</p> <h4>Don’t Bury it in Human Resources</h4> <p>In the U.S., nearly all (98 percent) of mid to large organizations offer employee assistance programs (EAPs), but only about 4 percent of employees use them each year. All too often employee wellness is seen as just another Human Resources internal communications or benefits effort. It is important for companies to implement holistic changes to improve employee mental health such as creating a supportive workplace culture and policies that protect and encourage help-seeking behaviors.</p> <h4>Train Your Staff</h4> <p>In MHA’s<em> <a href="https://www.mhanational.org/research-reports/2019-mind-workplace-report">2019 Mind the Workplace</a></em><a href="https://www.mhanational.org/research-reports/2019-mind-workplace-report"> report</a>, only about a third of employees felt that they could rely on supervisor and colleague support, leading to higher levels of stress and job dissatisfaction. Considering implementing a mental health training program for supervisors and staff. It can reduce work-related sickness absences, improve working conditions, and have a positive impact on employee knowledge, behavior, and attitudes toward people with mental illness.</p> <h4>Raise Visibility</h4> <p>Increase mental health literacy to decrease stigma throughout the organization, making it more accessible to people with mental illness, and educating co-workers on the signs, symptoms and resources for help. Have resources available throughout the office, and counselors available to help with acute mental health concerns.</p> <h4>Open a Dialogue</h4> <p>It is a myth that asking someone whether they are thinking about self-harm will encourage the behavior. Employees should be encouraged to check on one another, know the warning signs of someone who may be struggling, and understand how to support and direct them to the appropriate resource. Creating a culture where these conversations are encouraged can reduce isolating behaviors. All levels of the organization can contribute to normalizing the conversation around mental health including executive leadership, Human Resources, supervisors, and staff.</p> <h4>Encourage a Healthy Life-Work Balance</h4> <p>You want your employees to strive for excellence, but employee burnout can result in rising absenteeism. Still, it can be difficult to ask them to use their own judgement to plan for their vacation days, to work after hours only when it’s absolutely necessary, and to keep reasonable working hours. Consider offering workplace programs that encourage family time, such as compressed work schedules and flex time, and remove the burden from the employee.</p> <p>Once employers have laid some basic building blocks for mental health in the workplace, they can consider changing workplace cultures and implementing a comprehensive workplace wellness program.</p> <p>To help employees identify mentally healthy workplaces, MHA created a program to recognize and guide employers who are committed to creating them. The Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health is a certification program created by MHA to assess workplaces in five categories: workplace culture; health insurance and benefits; employee perks and programs; legal and ethical compliance; and leadership and community engagement. The Bell Seal recognizes employer advances in workplace mental health by awarding levels of Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. By becoming Bell Seal-certified, an organization sets itself apart as a workplace that values mental health and a mentally healthy work environment for all employees. Learn more at <a href="http://www.mhanational.org/bestemployers">www.mhanational.org/bestemployers</a>.</p> <p><strong>Sources</strong></p> <p>Hanisch, S. E., Twomey, C. D., Szeto, A. C. H., Birner, U. W., Nowak, D., &amp; Sabariego, C. (2016). The effectiveness of interventions targeting the stigma of mental illness at the workplace: A systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 16(1), 1. doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0706-4</p> <p>LaMontagne, A. D., Martin, A., Page, K. M., Reavley, N. J., Noblet, A. J., Milner, A. J., Keegel, T., &amp; Smith, P. M. (2014). Workplace mental health: Developing an integrated intervention approach. BMC Psychiatry, 14(1), 131.</p> <p>Milligan-Saville, J. S., Tan, L., Gayed, A., Barnes, C., Madan, I., Dobson, M., Bryant, R. A., Christensen, H., Mykletun, A., &amp; Harvey, S. B. (2017). Workplace mental health training for managers and its effect on sick leave in employees: A cluster randomised controlled trial. Lancet Psychiatry, 4, 850-858.</p> <p>Mental Health America (2019). Mind the Workplace 2019. Retrieved from <a href="https://www.mhanational.org/research-reports/2019-mind-workplace-report" target="_blank">https://www.mhanational.org/research-reports/2019-mind-workplace-report</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/workplace-wellness" hreflang="en">workplace wellness</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-simplenews-term field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/newsletter/newsletter" hreflang="en">Newsletter</a></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=17248&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="MFTIk0jTPVu6G_qt2WnG90WVRp5kf5UXtCUdD149B5U"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 04 Mar 2020 19:30:52 +0000 JCheang 17248 at https://www.mhanational.org https://www.mhanational.org/blog/5-ways-encourage-mental-health-workplace#comments