TANGO Partners Perspective – August 2022
Mental Health & the Workplace
Michele Klimczak, MA, LMSW – Director of Training & Grant Management
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for businesses, with occupational stress at an all-time high.
The significant emotional toll of the pandemic, staffing shortages, financial constraints, and everyone being asked to do more with fewer resources has resulted in unprecedented numbers of people experiencing mental health crises. Businesses are struggling with absenteeism, low morale, injuries, and extremely high levels of burnout.
The CDC estimates that depression alone is responsible for over 200 million lost workdays, and countless hours of reduced employee productivity. Stressors in the work environment itself can significantly worsen or even trigger psychological crises. Beyond the bottom-line impact the human toll is enormous, and employers can no longer afford to relegate problems to 911 or EAP while doing little to support vulnerable people in the moment.
Unfortunately, due in large part to the fear and stigma surrounding mental health, we are likely to ignore or misconstrue that which is directly in our midst. Mental health is not someone else’s problem to address. The tools to manage issues that occur in the context of our everyday work are one of the best ways to support our valued employees.
It’s time to bring mental health out of the shadows, and there is no better place to start than the workplace.
An organizational plan to address mental health requires a systemic approach involving the following key elements:
- An organizational culture that prioritizes staff wellness
- Supportive, emotionally intelligent managerial and customer service practices
- Empowering all staff with the tools to recognize the early stages of a problem, and to assist those in need of immediate intervention.
The Connection offers a two-hour Mental Health Response training that empowers participants with the skills to recognize and address the symptoms of the most common mental health conditions, including gambling and substance use disorder. A model of supportive response based on validation, engagement, and empathy will ensure a safe environment for all until help arrives and support workforce retention.
The Connection’s Institute for Innovative Practice offers professional development, training and consultation
Jessica Smith, LMFT
Deputy Chief of Business Development