No doubt the last year and a half of this pandemic has been one of the most consequential large-scale traumatic events in recent history. Often, traumatic events like the COVID-19 pandemic can result in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and PTSD. With so much going on, these mental health issues can have a significant impact on people’s day-to-day life long past a traumatic event. 

Even our pets have been severely affected by the pandemic. A cat owner on Twitter revealed to her followers, “Today the vet told me that since Covid, they’ve had to treat a number of cats with depression caused by irritation that their people are at home all day.” While dogs most likely have not struggled with these same issues, it seems that cats and humans share more similarities than one may think. 

Dealing with changes and decisions

As people take those big steps away from their work-from-home lives, the world is slowly transitioning into reaching a small resemblance of normalcy; with the help of vaccines that have made that possible. With all of these changes, people will undoubtedly carry heavy emotional scars that will make life feel anything but normal. 

Unfortunately, this affects just about everything we do day to day. Even making relatively small decisions such as whether or not it’s safe to ride the bus or sit inside of a coffee shop without a mask may feel like a burden. Many folks may also be grappling with existential issues that arose in the last year or so. Some may be considering whether they truly have a passion to return to the same job, let alone the same career. Others may be considering going back to school or moving away.

Next steps to take 

As organizations welcome back their employees to the workplace and out of the comfort of their own homes, protecting and prioritizing employees’ mental health is going to be one of the utmost essential actions that will lead to the overall growth and health of organizations. 

In order to actively accomplish this, workplaces need to adopt a people-centric approach that cultivates client and employee satisfaction and happiness in relation to one another. The main “ingredients” of a people-centric approach include wellness, belonging, engagement, and transformation. When employees feel centered in their workplace, this positive cycle is limitless.  

Sweeping your employee’s mental health under the rug is no longer an option. To actionably accomplish this task, try creating a space where your employees feel empowered to communicate with you. By doing this, you will gain honest insight as to whether or not they are happy and what they need more or less to feel supported and successful. 

By building a strong foundation to support many long-term issues in mental health, agencies will in turn benefit as well. Part of adhering to a people-centric approach is addressing the complete person. That means being aware and sensitive to the issues they may be dealing with at work and at home, as well as how they’re adapting to life in the aftermath of a pandemic. 

Prioritizing your employees’ health 

Now more than ever before, mental health services are becoming increasingly available. In today’s world, people can meet with a licensed therapist or mental health professional over the computer while in their own home or agencies can hire on-site mental health professionals to work with their staff. 

While this is essential, part of the process is also working to destigmatize mental health in your own organization. Make it known to your employees that their mental health is important to you, will always be of prime concern, and is never something to carry alone. Additional practices to consider implementing are webinars, seminars, and other educational tools and resources. Consider holding monthly forums, and maintaining openness to feedback, where your employees’ feelings are welcomed.

Clearly, mental health should be an ongoing conversation in the workplace. Pretending these issues simply don’t exist within the lives of those in the workplace is no longer a functioning way to run your agency. In this post-pandemic, rapid world, every business must prioritize mental health in order to build a strong community of trust while in turn making your organization stronger and more resilient than ever before. 

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Mental Health is the Next Big Workplace Issue

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