For millions of people, 2020 was a mentally and emotionally grueling year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of US adults experienced mental or behavioral health challenges. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the percentage of US adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression tripled last year. Researchers in Europe and Asia found similar trends.
As a new year begins, hopes and fears are on the rise. The good news is that a number of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, and some business analysts are predicting that after a year of lay-offs and lost jobs, the economy will bounce back in 2021. But new coronavirus variants are emerging, causing case counts to remain high around the world. For many people, the pandemic-related stresses of 2020—fear of infection, social isolation, economic anxiety—have not subsided, leading many public health experts to warn that we are on the brink of a global mental health crisis.
Considering these conditions, now is an important time to evaluate the mental health of your workforce, particularly those at high risk for burnout, quarantine fatigue, anxiety and depression. Five employee populations may be particularly stressed right now.
The profile of at-risk employees may look different in your own organization. The best way to discover who needs help is to engage in honest, open, and supportive dialogues with your employees. Here are four steps to consider: