The trauma and stress of the pandemic has had a profound impact on how individuals perceive their needs and their lives, as evidenced by the overwhelming number of unfilled jobs in certain sectors. On top of that, the pandemic has only exacerbated people’s mental health issues, according to US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy.
“We were struggling with high rates of anxiety, depression and suicide, including among young people, long before COVID-19 came along,” Murthy said as part of Yahoo’s All Market Summit Finance.
“And the question is, what are we going to do about it, recognizing that for many people, the COVID-19 crisis has actually increased rates of depression and anxiety,” he added. .
Recent reports show how severe the impact is, and experts have drawn attention to the pandemic crisis since last year. This is also evident in the rush for remote wellness and mental health platforms that have emerged over the past year, especially those targeting employers and school-aged children.
Murthy said the pandemic has given some people the opportunity to reflect on what is important to them and focus on a better sense of well-being.
“I think some people have realized that the workplace they are currently operating in may not be supporting their mental health and well-being the way they need it,” Murthy said.
Recent surveys show the plethora of reasons why employees have not returned to certain segments of the economy. They include lack of employment opportunities, insufficient work-life balance, and toxic work environments.
And some feel a lack of support for these issues at work, Murthy said.
“It just brings to mind something that I was studying and thinking about, in fact, in the years leading up to the pandemic, which is… [that] the loneliness and isolation in our workplaces is actually quite high. And that has consequences for retention, productivity, creativity in the workplace, ”he said.
“There is still, unfortunately, in too many circles, a sense of shame that people feel when they admit that they may have mental health issues,” added Murthy.
The solution cannot be found by simply creating employee resource programs or providing services like remote health options.
Instead, it will require a new culture at work, a new environment that emphasizes mental health – and it has to start from the top, Murthy said.
“It has to be modeled by the leaders. It cannot be just lip service,” he said.
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