April 28, 2021

Mental Health in the Workplace During Covid-19, with Sara Taylor

Episode 80:

Mental Health in the Workplace During Covid-19

What You Will Learn:

  • Why mental health in the workplace during Covid-19 is changing, and how this is impacting individuals and teams
  • Why the mental health impact of the pandemic is having an outsized impact on women and BIPOC, amplified by systemic disparities
  • How the CDC released a report in early April about the impact the pandemic is having on mental health, and what crucial information that report contains
  • How the layers of traumas we are all experiencing in trying to adapt to the realities of the pandemic are making it more difficult to navigate through our normal work life
  • How all of the various changes in our lives are feeding each other, and why marginalized people especially feel these changes
  • How 42% of Black, 27% of Asian, and 22% of Latinx and 19% of multiracial people have experienced an increase in race-based hostility, compared with 1% of White people
  • How 40% of women and nonbinary people and 42% of transgender people have experienced gender-based harassment compared to only 2% of men
  • Why more than 1/3 of respondents said that they don’t trust their employer to react fairly to harassment situations
  • How you can help within your organization, and what strategies you can follow to make your workplace more safe and supportive for the mental health of team members
  • Why intentionality and accountability are vital ingredients to creating positive, lasting, systemic change in your organization

Mental Health in the Workplace During Covid-19

At the beginning of April, the Centers for Disease Control released a report on the impact the global pandemic has had on mental health in America, and the results probably won’t surprise you. Overall mental health is on the decline, and many people are struggling to access mental healthcare due to economic disparities, lockdowns and many other factors.

Just as in the population at large, mental health in the workplace during Covid-19 is also displaying many troubling warning signs. Isolation and work/life balance struggles due to working from home, increase in anxiety and depression, and a lack of support systems are all factors.

It probably also won’t surprise you to learn that people within marginalized communities are experiencing an outsized impact on mental health in the workplace during Covid-19, because disparities within our systems have an amplifying effect. While 1% of White people have reported an increase in race-based hostility during the pandemic, a staggering 40% of Black people have reported the same. For people of Asian ethnicity, that number is 27%. 22% of people in the Latinx community reported an increase in hostility, and 19% of multiethnic and multiracial people reported an increase.

Gender-based harassment is also on the rise during the pandemic. 2% of men reported an increase of harassment based on gender, but 40% of women and nonbinary people and 42% of transgender people experienced harassment during the same period.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there are steps you can take in your workplace to make your organization more safe and more supportive for team members who are dealing with mental health challenges, now and in the future.

What Can Be Done to Support Mental Health in the Workplace During Covid-19

Here are the steps you can take to foster a work environment that can better meet the mental health needs of your team members:

  • Acknowledge your team’s experiences and the ongoing impact of mental health in the workplace during Covid-19.
  • Identify existing resources in your organization that can help, and look for opportunities to create new ones.
  • Seek organizational policy flexibility that gives team members the freedom to take time away as necessary.
  • Ensure that staff know who they can go to internally in your organization if they need help and support.
  • Get comfortable talking about mental health and talking about how people from different groups are impacted differently.
  • Take your DEI work seriously, make it a priority, and treat the work with intentionality and strategic thinking.

By following these steps, you can have a massive impact on your workplace and on creating an environment where employees feel safe to voice their concerns, talk about their mental health needs, and seek the support they need.

If you’d like to learn more, please explore www.deepseeconsulting.com/resources where you’ll find more tools, resources and information that can help you create lasting transformation within your organization.

Mental Health in the Workplace During Covid-19

About Sara Taylor

Sara Taylor earned a master’s degree in Diversity and Organizational Development from the University of Minnesota. She served as a leadership and diversity specialist at the University of Minnesota for five years and as director of diversity and inclusion for Ramsey County, Minnesota for three years.

Sara is the founder and president of deepSEE Consulting and has worked with companies as large as Coca-Cola, General Mills, 3M Company, AARP, and numerous others. She has a new book, “Filter Shift: How Effective People See the World,” that explores how our unconscious is actually making choices and decisions for us, all without our knowing — and how to change that.

How to Connect with Sara Taylor: