Absence Matters: Out-Thinking COVID-19

Tasha Patterson@Work


Out-Thinking COVID-19: Mental Health Strategies

By Bryon Bass, CLMS

SVP Workforce Absence

Whether or not we have tested positive, we have all been impacted by COVID-19. Who hasn’t stared at the ceiling late at night and wondered: How will my body react if I contract COVID-19? How can I prevent the spread of the virus to my family if I am exposed? When will the economy and businesses rebound? Will my company institute widespread layoffs and cost-cutting measures? How can I reshuffle immediate bills and debt payments? What will the new normal look like, and where will I fit in? Hopes and dreams for the future have, in many cases, been replaced by survival strategies.

Demand for mental health services was already high before COVID-19, with long wait times for appointments with mental health specialists. Depression, anxiety, and addiction are increasing; text messages to the federal disaster distress hotline increased by more than 1,000% in April 2020 compared to April 2019.1

For those who were struggling with mental health issues prior to COVID-19, their situation may have been magnified by this year’s events. Now add individuals newly affected by COVID-19 and seeking treatment or assistance for the first time, and it is easy to see a system at or exceeding capacity.

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