Start 2022 by checking in on employees' mental health.

AuthorHyman, Jon

As the calendar turns to 2022 and your employees are back at work after the holidays, we're also approaching an incredibly sad milestone--the two-year anniversary of COVID-19, which has altered all of our lives.

Nearly 50 million Americans have been diagnosed, approximately 800,000 have died from COVID and millions more have suffered debilitating illnesses. These are actual people, not just statistics, and we all know someone this virus has impacted.

As a result, some of your employees are working through mental health issues of varying degrees caused by all this stress, change and loss. Some are dealing with the exacerbation of pre-existing mental health issues, and some have what I am calling COVID-19 PTSD.

The hard part is figuring out what we as employers can do and should do. For starters, you can let employees know about these resources: The National Alliance on Mental Health (nami.org or, in a crisis, text "NAMI" to 741741); the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (samhsa.gov, 800-662-4357); and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org, 800-273-8255)

What else can you do to help ensure that employees have the support they need? I have five suggestions.

  1. Check in with your employees to make sure they are doing okay. I promise you that some of them are struggling. A little empathy goes a long way. Ask them how they are. Let them know that you care. Offer help if they need it.

  2. Check the benefits available to your employees. Do you have an Employee Assistance Plan and are the mental health and counseling services up to date? Are your health insurance plan's mental health benefits easy to access and affordable?

  3. Revisit paid-time-off...

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