Members Explore the Impacts on Employee Mental Health on Membership-Wide Call

June 12, 2020

In HR Policy's continued webinar series on the coronavirus pandemic, CHROs explored the tangible impact COVID-19 is having on employee mental health and the subsequent acceleration of an already established mental health crisis in the U.S.

Four in ten Americans say worry and stress from the coronavirus has had a negative impact on their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.  Employees are concerned about their finances, child care options, and the health of themselves and their loved ones, all while balancing their work.

Communication is crucial in times of uncertainty.  Members heard from Dr. Kyu Rhee, Vice President and Chief Health Officer of IBM, on the importance of communication with employees during these times as well as using this time to boldly rethink the health care system, especially when it comes to delivering behavioral health services.

A supported and resilient workforce is key to the future success of the company.  Navigating this uncertainty has undoubtedly put pressure on many employees and this pressure impacts employee productivity.  Dr. Evian Gordon, Founder and Chairman of the Brain Resource Company and Total Brain, presented data from employee assessments showing a 31% increase in stress, 24% increase in negativity bias, and a 5% decrease in resiliency among employees in the U.S. since February 2020.  A summary of the call can be found here.

Outlook:  The data presented makes a clear case for increased attention on employee mental health when developing wellbeing strategies.  Employers can assist in improving employee mental health and resiliency by offering tools that focus on changing negative thought cycles and increasing access to mental health providers through telemedicine services.