Where is your workplace at when it comes to mental health initiatives?
It is undeniable that the Covid-19 pandemic worsened the epidemic of mental health challenges that plague countries around the world. Not immune, this perpetuating issue also infiltrated workplaces.
In fact, studies suggest that 75% of US employees have struggled with anxiety caused by Covid-19. In the UK – and as recent as November – almost half (45%) of the population have reported feeling anxious or worried, rising to 64% for those with pre-existing mental health condition.
Youngest Gens are the hardest hit by the Covid-19 Pandemic
Putting general aside for a moment, the hardest hit generations out of the pandemic have been our younger gens: Millennials and Gen Z. When you consider the alarming statistics that indicate millennials have the highest rates of mental health issues amongst any generation, the consequence of these findings, are huge. Especially when younger gens will comprise of 75% of the total workforce in the next five years and millennials will be responsible for leading business growth.
There has been – and still is – uncertainty, fear and anxiety around the pandemic and what 2021 will bring.
This will present as a compounding issue for the world: the strain of mental health challenges, not just on an individual basis, but collectively as a society. While we don’t yet know what this strain will mean for organisations and society long term, what the economic, financial, and human cost will be, these are conversations government, organisations and individuals need to be having now.
Support is needed.
While government support – at least in the UK – has been pledged toward mental health initiatives, government support alone will not be enough to make an impact. Especially when you consider findings from a TalkOut study published late last year, reporting more the 56% of UK workers had not been offered support by their workplaces since the pandemic hit in March. Six months without support.
Ask yourself: How are you supporting your younger generations?
My advice: As a business leader, you must be aware of these challenges and recognise that it exists in your organisation. And if it “hasn’t presented itself” look at your teams’ performance, behaviour, and attitude. The things you need to be thinking about are:
1. Do you have the right leaders in place who have the required EQ and are willing and able to listen?
2. Do you have the right strategies, or policies in place?
3. What kind of support networks and services are available?
Be the leader – and business – that cares. Not just because you have an obligation to, but because investing in your employees and providing the right support will pay dividends in return.