Helping Employees Battle “Re-Entry Anxiety” in a Post-Pandemic Workplace

Tasha Patterson@Work


Helping Employees Battle “Re-Entry Anxiety” in a Post-Pandemic Workplace

By Kristin Tugman, PhD, CRC

VP Health and Productivity Analytics and Consulting Practice
Prudential Group Insurance

By Gail Ballin, MS, LCMHC

VP Expert Resources
Prudential Group Insurance

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, America’s mental health crisis was exacting a heavy toll on individuals, families, communities, and the workplace. Any “new normal” we develop for mental health must also help us adjust to returning to the workplace.

In 2019, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States.1 Some 8.4 million Americans reported providing care for an adult with an emotional or mental illness.2 U.S. emergency departments reported 12 million annual visits related to mental and substance use disorders.2 And an estimated 1.6 billion workdays were lost per year due to mental health and substance abuse disorders.3

Now add COVID-19 to the calculations, with its twin health and economic emergencies, and there’s growing evidence that mental health and substance abuse disorders may be the next pandemic our country will face.

In the 12-month period ending in May 2020, there were over 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period.4

As the pandemic upended the way we live and work, ushering in widespread social isolation, it amplified the risks of anxiety and depression. The American Psychological Association reports that more than one in three Americans says the coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health.5

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