In March 2020, when we were first made aware of the threat of COVID-19 and were told to stay home, most of us thought we would be there for a couple of weeks and things would be back to normal. Instead, a couple of weeks turned into a couple of years of schedule upheaval, ups and downs of virus surges and uncertainty surrounding the safety and health — including mental health — of our families and friends.
In a recent article in Psychology Today, a study shows the average wait time to see a psychiatrist for initial evaluation can be as long as 25 days. In some cases, the wait can be more than 90 days. At the same time, Massachusetts physicians are asking for relief in emergency rooms as adult patients there were being held in non-psychiatric medical floors or the ER for an average of 53 hours.
After the past two years, companies are looking for a “reset” even though the workplace environment and employee needs have changed significantly. Benefits that employees value have evolved over the past two years. With more and more industries facing the difficulty of attracting and retaining talent, it’s time for employers to broaden their coverage and offer more of what employees want, including assistance with fighting stress and improving mental health.
Oswald Companies’ health care partner, PeopleOne Health, has three suggestions on keeping employees grounded and healthy while fighting the stress of uncertainty. These include:
- Master a three-minute technique for de-stressing in the moment: Dean Anderson gives quick ways to focus on the positive, including staying grounded, taking a reality check and putting things in perspective.
- Learn unconventional ways to handle stress from Melissa Rudy who shares tips to focus on gratitude, de-stress with superfoods, laugh and more.
- Take a walk. PeopleOne Health’s guide to walking meditation puts the benefits of walking together with the benefits of mindfulness. The article points out numerous studies that show walking meditation can relieve symptoms of illness, reduce high blood pressure, relieve stress and improve mood.
PeopleOne Health also outlines four steps to help employees find a great therapist, including making a short list of possible therapists before you have an emergency need, then setting up a phone interview to make sure you’re comfortable with that person. Keep in mind there’s nothing wrong with taking a mental health day, because that one personal day off can help you reset, recharge and increase your productivity.
Companies are finding new ways to connect to their employees, adjust benefits to meet their needs and educate them as to what assistance their company offers, even when employees are not in the office.
Oswald Companies can provide you with the tools to effectively launch your employee assistance program (EAP) campaign or help you choose the vendor and plans that work best for you.
This article also appeared on bizjournals.com.
For more information, visit our Employee Benefits page or contact me directly:
Employee Benefits Advisor
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