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Addressing the Mental Health Implications of COVID-19

sad man wearing surgical mask looking out window in rain
Lin Grensing-Pophal, SPHR Photo
Contributing Writer

2 minutes

How credit unions can help employees struggling with anxiety during the pandemic and beyond

You, your employees and members have been bombarded with traditional and social media reports, speculation, facts, conjecture and outright mistruths for weeks now and the barrage is likely to continue. Amidst all the havoc, there are some things that credit union leaders can do to help manage their own and their employees’ mental health, says Nancy Reardon, chief strategy and product officer at Maestro Health in Hartford, Connecticut.

“People are experiencing more fear and uncertainty about what to do if they become sick,” says Reardon. “However, these concerns aren’t exclusive to COVID-19, which is why it’s important for companies to proactively communicate with employees about their mental health resources and make mental health a continued priority.”

There is much that credit union leaders can do now and in the future.

“Share information regularly with employees about the mental health, healthcare and other wellness support and information available to them and how to access that information,” Reardon advises. “Educating employees on what mental health options are available to them, such as counselors they can call, meditation platforms available and other mental health resources they can turn to for guidance, gives employees peace of mind and reduces anxiety.”

Keep in mind that employees aren’t only concerned for themselves during this difficult time, they’re also concerned for their family members. Many may have young children and aging parents or other relatives staying with them. Many may also be isolated from those they care about. “It’s crucial that mental health benefits extend to family health plans,” Reardon says. 

Employers should also encourage employees to take time for themselves and to spend time with family whenever possible. “Taking a break from work to walk your dog with your daughter or teach your son math are not only ways working parents can keep their children occupied since they’re not in school, but also good mental reminders to prioritize the overall wellbeing of family members during this time,” Reardon says.

Lin Grensing-Pophal, SPHR, is a writer and human resource management and marketing communication consultant in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement (Adams Media, 2014) and Human Resource Essentials (SHRM, 2010).

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