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Corporate Wellness

No Health without Mental Health: How Coronavirus Has Put a Spotlight on Mental Health in the Workplace

Many of us are anxious, agitated, scared, and depressed. The endless barrage of alerts on our phones, computers, and on the news, are constant reminders that as a collective, this pandemic is not yet old news.

As parts of Malaysia settle into another movement restriction to help flatten the curve for the second time, we are once again faced with the realities of working and learning from home, being hyper-vigilant with our physical health, as well as the economic implications of the ongoing restrictions.

According to World Health Statistics 2017, anxiety and depression affects more than 60 million people living in Southeast Asia, but as employees look to their employers for guidance or help during these troubling times, many are realising that the culture, benefits, and programs in place do not adequately address growing mental health concerns.

Mercer’s 2020 Global Talent Trends Study indicates that only 14% of the executives surveyed have reached out to employees to understand what they are thinking and feeling about the insidious and conspicuous widespread psychological traumas brought on by social isolation, economic anxiety, and worry about what’s to come next during this pandemic.

Inadequate health and safety policies as well as poor communication and management practices are two of the biggest contributors to increased workplace anxiety.

While it is not out of the ordinary for employee benefit plans to cover physical health, our psychological wellbeing is still taboo in the workplace, often treated as a personal or unprofessional matter to be navigated outside of work. Speaking out or communicating about mental health struggles is feared to result in negative consequences such as a lack of trust in capabilities, sidelining employees, and isolating them even more. On-site stress management programs such as counselling or mindfulness and meditation may seem like overly-innovative investments, but the issue of access remains. How does someone working from home engage the support they need?

We are struggling with loneliness, overload from juggling home and work responsibilities simultaneously, grief, and the increasing fear that with more economic turmoil, our jobs are not secure. COVID-19 has created an elevated sense of urgency for companies to take more stock in their employees as mental health is no longer an issue that can be set aside for a later date.

This pandemic is a turning point for mental health in Malaysia.

While a lot of the strategy to adapt to the current need includes training managers, encouraging empathy and support, building community, positivity tips on how to cope and more, many employers risk maladapting to the “new normal” due to a lack of resources or having nowhere to turn to for supporting themselves.

Platforms like Naluri are pioneering cost-effective and convenient digital therapeutic programs that can be personalised by leading healthcare professionals and coaches to the individual emotional, mental, and physical needs of each employee. Daily modules, direct access to health coaches and therapists, digital journals and more, work cohesively to create a scalable program that provides participants with the tools and support needed to build long-term healthy habits. This in turn promises to assist employers in managing the mental health struggles of employees that are prevalent in the workplace.

What else are you utilising to mitigate the work-life stressors of your employees during this pandemic?

For more information about Naluri and its suite of tools for employee wellness, reach out to hello@naluri.life

Writen by:
Chloe Pharamond