Much of the devastation wrought by COVID-19 is easily visible. Millions of Americans have fallen ill, and tens of thousands have died. Across society, we are living without the social connections we usually enjoy. We are balancing childcare and work without the support we typically rely on. We are missing the comforts of our favorite activities such as going to restaurants, salons, or fitness centers.
Other manifestations of the pandemic are less visible. We fear for our health and our families. We struggle to manage our uncertainty about the future and what will happen to our jobs, finances, and plans. We feel out of control and forced from routines that brought us purpose, comfort, and normalcy. All of these struggles take a toll on our mental health.
Fifty five percent of Americans say the coronavirus is affecting their mental health. As a company that provides mental health services, we see that symptom severity among Lyra clients has spiked since the beginning of March. We find more people with generalized anxiety, an increase in thoughts of suicide, and other worrisome feedback from our clients and clinicians. What’s more, we expect the situation to worsen as time passes and long-term effects compound, driving more insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. The wave of mental health needs has not crested.
Employers can get in front of this challenge by recognizing that employee mental health is vital to their company’s performance. Alongside physical safety, employee mental health can ensure a more productive and connected workforce through this crisis.