Help Your Team Alleviate Stress
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Model healthy behaviors and make sure employees know that mental health resources are available.
Just over a year ago Covid-19 debuted in headlines then quickly turned into a pandemic. A pandemic that has—and continues to—profoundly affect mental health. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports, “We are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come.” As a business owner or leader, there are several things you can do to help your team alleviate stress.
Lead by example
When leaders are are honest about their mental health struggles it “opens the door for employees to feel comfortable talking with you about mental health challenges of their own,” say Kelly Greenwood and Natasha Krol in Harvard Business Review.
Modeling healthy behaviors like self-care and setting boundaries can help team members do the same. For example, let your team know you’re taking time for a walk or a staycation and won’t be checking email. Behaviors like this normalize activities that support mental health and encourage your team to do likewise.
Greenwood and Krol advise leaders to communicate more than you think you need to. Check in with direct reports on regular basis. When asking questions, wait for the full answer. Find out what supports would be helpful; don’t make assumptions about what they need.
Make sure employees know about mental health resources included in their health plan or employee benefits. If your company doesn’t provide these resources, share ways employees can get outside help.
Resources for those who need immediate help:
- Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger or go to the nearest emergency room.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En Español 1-888-628-9454. The Lifeline is a free, confidential crisis hotline available to everyone 24/7.
- Crisis Text Line
Anyone can Text “HELLO” to 741741 in any type of crisis and get connected with a crisis counselor who can provide support and information.
- Veterans Crisis Line
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255. The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, 24/7 with trained responders. Service is available to all veterans, even if they are not registered with the VA or enrolled in VA healthcare. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss can call 1-800-799-4889.
For non-urgent situations, local, online, and app services like these are available:
- Check out local providers; search Google for “community mental health” + your city name.
- Online therapy through services such as Amwell, MDLive, or Doctor On Demand.
- Apps such as Moodfit, Talkspace, and
- Free chat and emotional support from caring listeners 24/7 through the 7 Cups online service or app. 7 Cups also provides therapy for a fee.
When you check in in with team members one-on-one, remember that not everyone will feel comfortable sharing their struggles. Respect personal boundaries. Also, make sure they know they have your support and that help is available if they need it.
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