We may or may not see it coming: a mental health epidemic at velocity driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aware or not the global lockdown will have created trauma in many of us. Some of us will have been triggered and others of us will have picked up new experiences which will have resulted in anxiety and depression. Under those broad labels a lot of expression or lack of expression will happen.
Are we prepared to handle this in our businesses as we start to see each other in the flesh again? Or do we have a robust system in place to help those who need to get through the process and heal?
My 5 tips for business leaders and HR managers as they go back into the work environment and begin the process of healing:
1. Trauma needs to be processed. Don’t interfere and stop it from being processed. Acknowledge that we are all humans experiencing this regardless of rank, hierarchy or cultural background. If it’s not being processed in a safe way, then seek a trained professional who is trauma-aware to help with this.
2. Talk. Talk. Talk. The one thing we’ve all missed is being able to talk to each other – the social aspect of going to a work environment. Allow non-work related conversations to happen – allow the expression.
3. Watch out for those who used to talk and now are not talking. They might just need time or they might need professional support. Use your heart, not your head when you are looking for a way to help.
4. Observe the team dynamics. The business’ future depends on the team’s togetherness – has this improved or gotten worse during the lockdown? What would you like to do with this dynamic in the short term and the long term?
5. Get outside help. You are also affected by everything that’s going on and as a leader you also need a support system to heal. You don’t need to be feeling anything negative to secure the rewards of having the professional support of a life coach or psychologist. Be the best version of yourself to help lead the best version of your business or team.