Coronavirus has presented us with a very real threat to ourselves, and our loved ones. Whether that threat has been to our physical health, our financial health, or our social health, this level of threat taps into one of our most basic needs.
The need for safety.
When our sense of safety is threated in this world, we face anxiety, and that anxiety, that fear, also extends to those we care about.
The world as we know it has changed. And the future we imagined is uncertain. Navigating these times is a challenge with so much uncertainty. It is difficult making decisions for our future.
There is so much we don’t know about this new virus; we don’t know who has it, we don’t know if we have already had it, we don’t know what will happen with our work and our social lives, and we don’t know when things will change. No wonder most of us will experience more stress and anxiety because of all this.
Generally speaking, we don’t cope well with uncertainty. So much so, that The Centre for Mental Health predicts that there will be approximately 500,000 more people experiencing mental health problems due to Covid-19.
Furthermore, this mental health need will continue after the pandemic quietens. A lot of this won’t relate directly to the virus, but rather the effects that it has had on our home life, social lives and financial security.
It has been predicted that 12% of healthcare workers will suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to what they have gone through in working with Covid-19. That’s compared to 4.5% in the general population. It’s worth mentioning that PTSD in the police is as high as 20% in some areas of the country.
So how can we be resilient in these times, and post-COVID-19?
Research suggests that after a traumatic time, people need team support and leadership. Extraverts tend to cope better, for the reason that they are more likely to seek out social connection.
Good leadership is critical in terms of protecting mental health.
Fascinating research conducted has shown that having a leader who staff perceive as approachable and fair, reduces stress by approximately 10 times! This shows that if staff think they are supported, it protects their wellbeing.
If staff feel supported, it protects their wellbeing tenfold.
Being able to have a meaningful mental health conversation with employees is also critical. Keeping people at work and managing people’s symptoms is significantly more effective than waiting for people to develop further symptoms when their functioning starts to suffer.
There is strong evidence that suggests that offering support at the time someone is distressed is key in their early recovery. This support should be in the place they experienced the distress. Having various people you can speak to helps. It should also be noted that the person offering support doesn’t need any formal psychological training.
During these stressful times of change, and especially now, it is more important than ever for organisations to invest in their employee’s wellbeing. Companies are discovering more about their structural resilience as an organisation. Organisational resilience is a form of elasticity. It is the strength we have in bouncing back from adversity.
Those with an already established wellbeing programme, committee or other form of staff support are finding their teams are already more resilient. Staff that are supported through mindfulness programmes or resilience workshops are more focused, have a higher regard for their organisation, and they are more productive, with less absence.
Furthermore, if the staff bounce back quicker after this pandemic, so will the company. Afterall, it is the staff that drive the business. If you want to get the best out of your business, you need to get the best out of your staff.
We offer support for leaders, top-up training for Mental Health First Aiders, and workshops for employees. All of our trainings have a strong evidence-base, being informed by the latest research.