Mental health issues are impacting millions around the world, but much of this suffering is not discussed in public. Businesses today need to identify those who are at risk to provide the support needed.
WORKING PARENTS, AT THE HEART OF THE COVID STORM
Working parents are one group which stands out as more likely than most to have significant mental health issues in the COVID-19 world that we all now inhabit. They now have to juggle the demands of a team at work and the demands of young children at home, simultaneously. They are even more at risk than before pandemic: when 8.5% of adults were showing strong signs of depression, this number has skyrocketed to 28% since March 2020. This results in feeling down or hopeless; loss of interest in things that normally bring joy; low energy; trouble concentrating; or thinking about self harm.
MANAGERS, EXTROVERTS AND NEW HIRES FACE MOUNTING STRESS AND BURNOUT
If one were to think about one category of people who might be better insulated from the mental health impacts of COVID-19, they might not think of managers. However, there are reasons why managers are having a great deal more trouble with this situation than most. Managers are often highly concerned about the stability of their jobs. Plenty of managers have been forced to retrench staff as COVID-19 related restrictions have reduced their business revenue significantly.
Dealing with the pressure of a smaller team, negative feelings towards redundancies, and a to-do list that gets longer and longer as the team gets smaller, are a few of the main ingredients for burnout. Additionally, when a manager is retrenched, it can be extraordinarily difficult to find work in a similar position, which adds to the stress and frustration that a manager may feel today.
New hires are in much the same place as managers. They have just now been brought into a business which might be looking to make a cutback. New staff are easier to reduce, because they don't have as much institutional knowledge of the businesses' processes. Their skills are not as valuable to the business as those who have worked there for an extended period of time. A layoff for a new hire also means an awkward gap of time on their resume.
Finally, is it any wonder that extroverts are feeling the cold sting of COVID-19 restrictions even harder than a lot of us? This group has personality traits which are directly impacted by the way that societies are currently structured in response to this virus, specifically they:
• Gain energy from being around other people
• Are known to want to speak up in groups of people
• Like to receive attention from their peers for good ideas
• Solitude can make them feel low energy and frustrated
There is no clarity about exactly when things will return to normal. As we navigate through lockdowns, social distancing and border restrictions; assessing your teams and their specific conditions that might make their lives harder during the COVID-19 era, will help to keep them engaged, loyal and happy.
BE MINDFUL OF THOSE WHO HAVE HAD STRUGGLES BEFORE
Individuals who have struggled with mental illness in the past are the most at risk for developing additional issues or for seeing a resurgence or intensification of preexisting mental issues. It is best to draw those people in close as much as possible right now and to check in with them often. Millions of people suffer in silence, and there is no reason why we should knowingly allow that to happen.