Emotional support and mental health resources for valuable employees affected by COVID-19.
If you are experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety or depression, reach out for support.
Crisis Text Line: Text 741741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Staying Safe During COVID – American Red Cross of Massachusetts
The Red Cross created health and safety information in various languages to promote safety in entire communities here in Massachusetts, including various webinar presentations on mental health and adhering to local safety/health guidelines, as well as information on Red Cross Food Pantry and a training course on Mental Health First Aid.
How do I manage my mental health condition during this challenging time?
The information included below applies to everyone whether you experience a mental health condition or not. Here are additional tips for those diagnosed with mental health conditions:
Consult with your health care provider or pharmacist if you are using over the counter medications. Cold and flu medications may interact with antidepressants and/or antipsychotics.
Respond to symptoms of COVID-19. If you are feeling symptoms that may be associated with the COVID-19 virus, call your primary care provider first to talk about next steps in care. This virus continues to strain hospital resources so it's best to get directions from your primary care provider on what to do rather than going to an emergency room.
Recognize warning signs and triggers. Continue to monitor new or worsening symptoms you may be experiencing with either your mental health or overall health and well-being. Do your best to keep your stress level low and engage in activities, like those listed above, that help you manage your stress levels during this disruptive time.
Engage your support network. Just as you would during other major life changes, stay connected with family and trusted friends and let them know if you need extra support during this challenging time. That might include regular phone calls, check-ins, or related support. Be clear about what you need during this time.
How do I maintain my health and wellness?
Keep a regular schedule. Create and maintain a routine and schedule. Set up a designated space for you and each family member to work and learn. Don't forget to include periodic breaks to recharge.
Stay connected. Keep contact with family, friends, and support systems using technology like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and other video-based options. Talk about your fears and concerns with people you trust. Chances are they are feeling the same way.
Keep your immune system strong. Make a commitment to protecting yourself and others by:
Prioritize personal hygiene and limit contact with others. This is imperative to avoid spreading the virus. Here's what should be done:
Use a tissue to cover your sneeze or cough, or when unavailable, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
Disinfect with anti-bacterial wipes areas and objects that are heavily trafficked or are touched regularly where you live and work.
Avoid contact with those who are sick and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth. If you do get sick, stay home!
Exercise and stay active. This is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health too. Get up and move around your home. Walk, stretch, plank, or do jumping jacks—whatever works best for you to reduce stress and increase endorphins. While our favorite gyms and fitness centers are closed, many are offering free livestreams or app-based workouts for both members and the general public, so check online to see what's available.
Get some fresh air. If circumstances allow, go outside for a brisk walk and fresh air, but avoid crowds and try to maintain the recommended 6-foot distance with others.
Stay informed. Knowledge is power, and it's good to stay updated on progress being made in combating the virus. Stay informed on the latest updates from reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Limit media consumption. . Stay informed by following a few, authoritative resources, but avoid continuous exposure to news, media, and social media that may trigger or elevate anxiety, stress, or panic.
What can managers and HR professionals do to support employees?
With many organizations requiring employees to stay out of the office, it's more important than ever to encourage and facilitate regular communication with employees. Here are tips for managers and human resource professionals in supporting employees in staying connected to the workplace and each other.
Show empathy and be available. Understand that employees are likely feeling overwhelmed and anxious about circumstances related to the virus. Make yourself available to your staff to talk about fears, to answer questions and to reassure them about work and other issues that might come up.
Stay connected with communication and meeting tools. Use virtual meeting options with video, like Zoom or JoinMe, for regular check-ins and to allow teams to connect with one another "face-to-face."
Recognize the impact of isolation and loneliness. Working remotely can cause people to feel isolated, making it more important to routinely check in with your team, not only about their work product, but also to see how they are doing. Loneliness can lead to depression and other mental health issues. Be aware of significant changes you may see in your team member's personality or work product, because it may be a sign that a person is struggling.
Encourage online training. This is a great time to encourage employees to sharpen their skills with online training. It is also a good distraction to focus on learning rather than worrying about other issues. Find online trainings and new learning opportunities to recommend to employees.
Check in with your EAP and Health Plan. Check in with your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to confirm their availability and to coordinate support for employees. Remind the staff that the EAP is there if they need support and can connect employees with behavioral health support, if needed. Also, connect with the organization's health plan(s) to learn what they are offering to support plan members and pass that information onto employees. Be sure to include all relevant website links and phone numbers for both the EAP and health plan in communicating with employees.