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The Workplace Mental Health Crisis

September 20, 2022

Taking Care of Your Employees

The COVID pandemic was very trying on everyone. It made many of us appreciate those we hold near and dear in our hearts, while also building care for those whom we do not know. There were (and still are) so many changes happening. The world as we knew it will never be the same and now, we live in the era of “The New Normal.” With that came changes to our societal structure, everyday lifestyles, and even huge changes to the way that we work.

During the pandemic, companies were sending out polls to their staff and the online world to understand what they could be doing better and what changes people wanted to see. Many of the responses led to some positive changes, including a focus on mental health resources for staff members. This feedback would forever change company cultures and continue bringing mental health to the forefront at many companies.

In the early part of the pandemic, there was, what many would deem, the “Great Resignation.” While there are many reasons for this, mental health played an exceptionally large role.  People were quitting their jobs because they no longer wanted to deal with the stress caused by their occupation or employer. Many workers were gravitating towards companies that prioritized flexibility and the resources to manage mental health.  According to a brief released by the World Health Organization, “In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%.” 

Mental health affects our work and productivity and can lead to burnout of varying levels. Now employers are tasked with not only how to help keep their employees but also, aid in being able to help them mitigate their rising mental health concerns. Employers have addressed this in several ways, including initiatives like mental health days, flexible workdays, and more comprehensive counseling benefits.

According to Harvard Business Review, “Employers must move from seeing mental health as an individual challenge to a collective priority.” This is where the challenge comes for many employers because, how do you remove the stigma of mental health in the workplace?  Empathy is a key factor. True work-life balance helps ease burnout risk as well, but this balance can become difficult to achieve.  Employees must still be held accountable to expected work performance while employers also have concern for mental wellbeing.  How is the right balance found?

Some examples of implementation include Johnson & Johnson instituting a Healthy Mind program as part of its comprehensive employee wellness initiative. The portion that deals with mental health includes teaching both employees and their families about the importance of mental well-being. Another is New Brunswick Power that embraced a “Total Health” program which addresses actionable items in the areas of physical and mental health and work/life balance. By all reports, the employees at both these companies are much happier because of it.

It is wonderful that employers are putting such an emphasis on the mental health of their employees. Hopefully, this is not a fad or marketing ploy, but an everlasting change that will set the tone for the future of every company and how their employees deal with mental health. If something positive is taken from the pandemic; it’s a new focus on the mental wellbeing of employees. In the meantime, while we are all figuring it out check out these ALTA tips to benefit your mental health and avoid burnout.

 ALTA Tips to Help Avoid Burnout:

  • Practice selfcare
  • Get at least 10-20 minutes of fresh air a day
  • Have a clean and organized workspace
  • Create a work schedule and dedicate time to each work task
  • Say no! Communicate if you are taking on too many tasks


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