There is no avoiding stress – we feel it. As we attempt to return to normal, post pandemic, we find ourselves somewhat changed, mentally and emotionally. People are experiencing anxiety, stress, loneliness, depression, and our question is, how can the work environment advance mental health and help employees de-stress and return to normal or better?
There was a lot of fear in the world with COVID, and uncertainty. We held strong and here at AMS. We did everything we could, plus some, to alleviate that fear and stay well. Even though we dedicated ourselves to keeping employees safe, some of us lost friends or family, and some of us may be experiencing ongoing health effects of covid. Every one of us has experienced a loss of one depth or another. We lost a way of life.
If we can learn techniques to gain a greater level of health and well-being and have access to counseling and understanding we can experience a recovery and greater mental health.
The World Health Organization website published a “Wake-up call to all countries to step up mental health services and support.” The article states that anxiety and depression have increased by 25%. According to the article, mental health conditions have prompted 90% of countries to increase mental health and psychosocial support. The WHO Director-General was quoted as saying, “This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations’ mental health.”
What is AMS doing to help employees deal with the mental health effects of uncertainty and loss from the pandemic? We asked Samantha Hicks, Corporate Culture and Org. Development Business Partner.
“To best support employee’s emotional health, we must consider every aspect of what makes us human.
“Work life balance – the time we spend at work has an undeniable influence on our personal lives and well-being. We are all human, so leaders support employees having to take time off work due to day care issues or coaching their kid’s baseball team, or caring for a loved one, for example.
“Volunteer committee – we spend more time at work than we do with our own families. Our volunteer committee fosters a culture where employees can be themselves and have fun at work.
“Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – doing nothing to support employee mental health contributes to the stigma that prevents people from seeking help when they need it. It’s not up to company leaders to diagnose conditions. But it is an organizational responsibility to recognize when employees are struggling and offer ways to help. AMS offers employees and their household free EAP, with mental health services accessible and readily available for all.”
For more information on AMS’ Employee Assistance Program, you are welcome to contact the HR Department.
During the lockdown many of us experienced loneliness from the social isolation. While AMS was considered essential, and we stayed open, quite a few people were sent home, to work from home utilizing the Internet. We were no longer able to engage with family and friends. We also experienced fear of infection, suffering and grief for loved ones and friends. And far from least, we had new financial worries.
According to the WHO, young people are more at risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviors, and also, the data indicates that women have been more severely impacted than men and people with pre-existing physical health conditions, such as asthma, cancer and heart disease, were more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders.
Unfortunately, during the pandemic mental health services were disrupted. Today many people are still unable to get the care and support they need. We encourage AMS employees and families to take advantage of the free Employee Assistance Program if they feel it might be beneficial.
AMS is a B Corporation, and we consider our employees vital to our success, and worthy of our investment.
Read the full WHO report HERE.