Check Up on Your Employees’ Mental Health
Besides the physical ravages of COVID-19 illness, the coronavirus can take a heavy mental toll on your employees. This can manifest in increased absences, errors, or a lack of focus and concentration. Keeping a focus on your employees’ mental health could even be key to surviving as a business.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.”
Symptoms of Stress on Employees’ Mental Health
Stress during the pandemic can lead to the following conditions:
- Fear and worry about a person’s own health and the health of their loved ones
- Fear and worry about a financial situation or potential job loss, or loss of support services
- Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
- Worsening chronic health problems
- Increased use of substances like tobacco, alcohol or drugs
How to cope with stress in a healthy way should be stressed. It will improve the lives of your employees and make a stronger community.
Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
- Know and post the resources available to help employees deal with the stress of COVID-19
- Notify employees that counseling and therapy is available either in person or through telemedicine
- Offer ways to care for employee mental health
- Advise on avoiding overindulgence in media stories about the pandemic
- Stress healthy physical habits like eating right, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep
- Offer ways to cope as substitutes for substance abuses
- Plan some fun, stress-reducing activities
- Connect with others. Even if you cannot gather in person, hold regular Zoom calls and look for ways for employees to interact virtually.
Related: Taking Care of Your Emotional Health
Watch for Changes in Behavior
The mental health of employees with particularly stressful situations, mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders may be particularly vulnerable. Keep an eye out for new or worsening symptoms.
Look for signs of anxiety or depression, or changes in a person’s mood or behavior and address them early in an empathetic manner. Understand what the employee is dealing with and offer suggestions for ways to cope. Encourage them to use their telehealth and healthcare benefits, and post helplines where they can reach out in an emergency.
Be especially aware of the warning signs of suicide. Heightened stress and anxiety, depression, isolation, loneliness, and concerns about finances can be triggers that push people to suicidal thoughts and actions. In addition, states the CDC, “suicide risk is higher among people who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying or sexual violence.”
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
Telemedicine Can Help
Because of the pandemic, health care providers had to find ways to serve their patients, and most have instituted telemedicine, or telehealth programs wherein policy holders can consult with their primary physicians via a teleconference or telephone call. If additional resources are required to deal with a mental health crisis, the primary physician can refer the patient to trained professionals.
The cost for mental health care is surprisingly low. For example, an entire family under the same roof could opt for virtual primary care with behavioral mental health care for around $45 per month, for example. You’d have to check with your healthcare insurance provider, like Benefit Providers, for an actual rate.
Employers that have employees that have NO health care coverage can benefit from making telemedicine programs available whether it’s just Urgent Care or Virtual Primary Care with or without Mental Health, onto their list of available healthcare coverage. It adds real value for just a few extra dollars per pay period.
Look for new telemedicine and mental health care options to become available after January 1, 2021.
For More Information, Contact Benefit Providers
If you have questions about telehealth and healthcare options for your employees’ mental health, contact Benefit Providers/ECCA Payroll Services at 703-370-2226 or www.benefitproviders.co