The timing for Mental Health Awareness month this year couldn’t be any more fitting. As U.S. employees struggle to find a balance amid COVID-19 lockdowns and remote work over the past two years, employers are being pushed to take their staff’s hurting mental health into higher account.
According to SHRM, 2022 has brought upon a new wave of concern for U.S. employers. Over a quarter of large employers have established a formal strategy for employee well-being, in response to adverse remote work experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The same article highlights two things that employers identified as major workforce threats: stress, and burnout. This is according to a January 2022 survey of over 300 U.S. employers with 100 or more staff members, which gathered statistics on workplace mental health at the end of 2021.
Of the respondents, 86% of the employers identified mental health, burnout, and stress as current priorities. However, even with this recognition of mental health as a major factor in workplace satisfaction, half of respondents still hadn’t established a company-wide well-being strategy.
While employees can certainly take actions outside of work to quell mental health struggles, employers are now expected to take action against COVID-induced stress and burnout. Employers can support their staff’s mental health in a number of ways, though first and foremost is providing helpful resources such as EAPs and counseling sessions.
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are benefits programs geared towards navigating employees through major life transitions and issues. According to BetterUp, EAPs often result in less absenteeism and workplace stress, though studies show that under 10% of companies leverage such programs.
Employers can also train managers specifically in the area of identifying signs of stress or burnout. Pretending an employee’s mental health is fine, or downplaying it, is no longer appropriate – in fact, according to Forbes, people are up to 30% less likely to love their occupation if they feel the need to fake happiness at work.
Lastly, caring employers should include mental health in company-wide conversations so as to reduce any stigma. Mentioning mental health initiatives, resources, or simply acknowledging its validity can go a long way with employees. If staff members feel that they can be honest with their managers, employees won’t just experience improved mental health – it can also boost productivity, strengthen camaraderie, and decrease employee turnover.
In short, COVID-19 hasn’t just plagued the physical health of U.S. employees – it’s largely affected the mental health of workers on a nationwide scale. By offering resources and opening up the conversation, employers can ensure that their staff is mentally prepared for the work ahead while improving productivity, team camaraderie, and employee retention rates. In light of May being Mental Health Awareness month, there may be potential for more companies to adopt mental health strategies like EAPs and mental health-inclusive healthcare packages for their employees.
For Angela’s insights on workplace policies, legislative and legal issues like these, follow her on Facebook and Instagram @iamangelareddockwright.com, LinkedIn @angelareddock-wright, and tune-in to her radio show KBLA Talk 1580’s Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright each Saturday and Sunday at 11am PST, or catch past episodes on Anchor.fm/Spotify. For media inquiries for Angela, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top 50 Woman Attorney” in California by Super Lawyers, a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.
Reddock-Wright has also launched her own radio show, Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright, airing on Tavis Smiley’s new KBLA Talk 1580 radio station on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. PT with replays on subsequent Sundays. Listeners may tune-in by downloading the APP @kbla1580 and call the PowerLines at 1-800-920-1580. You can listen to past episodes on Anchor.Fm/Spotify.
For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.