Supporting Employee Mental Health After Tragic Events
A rising number of mass shootings have been reported across the United States in recent years, with a significant increase in 2023. These tragic events considerably impact employees’ mental health, making it essential for employers to offer support in these challenging times. Experts emphasize the importance of providing resources and assistance to maintain a mentally healthy workforce.
The Decline in Mental Health Among Employees
Recent studies reveal that mental health among employees has been steadily declining since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ongoing financial concerns, including the rising cost of living and fears of an impending recession, further aggravate the situation. According to recent data, only 40 percent of employees report feeling holistically healthy, with just 65 percent of employees in 2023 stating that they are mentally healthy. In addition, the frequency of mass shootings and constant media coverage take a toll on the mental well-being of those already under stress.
Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace
Employers are encouraged to prioritize mental health initiatives and inform employees of available resources. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) have gained popularity among organizations as valuable tools for addressing mental health concerns. A recent survey found that following major mass shootings in 2022, nearly 30 percent of emotionally affected employees sought out their organization’s EAP or intended to do so.
Increasing Awareness of Available Resources
Despite significant investments in wellness programs and mental health resources, many employees remain unaware of the benefits or hesitate to use them. Research indicates that only 19 percent of workers have accessed mental health care through their employer. Employers are urged to communicate proactively about resources, such as EAPs, crisis counselors, and well-being apps, and ensure that employees know how to access them.
The Role of Managers and Supervisors
In addition to providing resources, employers should train and encourage managers and supervisors to actively engage with their employees. Managers can check in on their team members, ask how they are coping, and offer support when needed. It is essential to foster an environment where struggling with mental health issues is seen as a normal human reaction and seeking help is encouraged.
The Benefits of Supporting Employee Mental Health
By acknowledging the impact of mass shootings and other tragic events on their workforce, employers can demonstrate that they prioritize employee well-being. Providing access to resources and benefits that support mental health can be mutually beneficial for both employers and employees. A healthy, supported workforce is more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to the organization.