Posted on: 08 July 2020
Mental health while COVID-19 is still a threat
The Coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every aspect of the life of everyone in the UK and this widespread, unprecedented situation has caused a huge spike in mental health illnesses.
The virus has caused fear and anxiety for those worried about being exposed to it. Business closures have caused stress for both business owners and workers who are uncertain of where the next pay-cheque will come from. Social distancing and staying inside have led to feelings of isolation, which could lead to depression.
Take a look at our tips on how you can help the people around your business with their mental health – no matter their position.
Why is COVID-19 causing mental health problems?
Coronavirus has proven to be a deadly virus, which naturally leaves people in fear for themselves or loved ones of contracting it.
This fear leads to anxiety, a condition that the NHS describes as a feeling of unease, and is totally normal, especially during these unprecedented times.
Loss of income
Because of Coronavirus, businesses have had to close, leading to a loss of income for business owners and potential job losses for workers. Workers will also struggle to find new employment as businesses won’t be looking for new recruits if they can’t open.
Loss of income can be stressful, as people might struggle to pay for bills or essentials, leading to high levels of stress, which can cause not only mental problems but physical health problems as well.
Whilst the government has eased lockdown measures, allowing people to go out for exercise and to allow social gatherings as long as social distancing is observed, many people are still either having to work from home or spend time at home due to being furloughed.
This can lead to feelings of isolation, a strong sense of loneliness that can cause depression.
Going back to work
Now that businesses can start to reopen, many people will be going back to work for the first time since lockdown began.
This can be stressful, not only because of the fear of being exposed to the virus, but also the adjustment of having to restart work, which is a huge change from the routine that they have gotten used to during the pandemic.
What can business owners do to support mental health?
Reopening your business
If you are a business who has only recently been given the green light to reopen, consider a phased approach to reopening, with less staff on-site, working reduced hours.
This will give your staff more time to adjust to the workplace and arrange any child care that they might need.
Where safe, always have more than one person working on a shift, as having a healthy social side to work can improve mental health, especially if members of your team have been feeling isolated at home, particularly if they live alone.
Keeping the same people on shift together is also good practice to reduce the number of people coming into contact with each other, which can help to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Open mental health culture
Promote positive attitudes towards mental health at your business, allowing your team the opportunity to talk about their mental health if they need to.
Appointing a member of staff to be a mental health first aider is a huge step in showing how dedicated you are to the mental health of your team, and gives someone on your team the chance to develop new skills.
During the first few weeks of reopening your business, try to put fewer pressures on your team. Getting your business up and running is important, but if your staff are struggling to readjust to working life, you risk burning them out quickly.
If members of your team have certain targets to meet, ease these targets during the first few weeks of operation to allow them time to readjust to the workplace.
Top tips for looking after your mental health
To help your team in these unprecedented times, share some of these mental health tips around your business:
- Spend time outside – Spending time outside is great for mental health, as sunlight gives your body vitamin D, and spending time in fresh air allows more oxygen into your body.
- Avoid alcohol – Alcohol is a type of drug known as a depressant, which slows down physical and psychological activity. This means that someone who has consumed alcohol will be less likely to make rational decisions. Alcohol can also cause depression and anxiety the following day, known as a hangover.
- Avoid tobacco and other substances – Some people may rely on smoking or other substances to help with stress. However, these effects are likely to be short-lived and can end up causing more physical harm in the long run.
- Take a break from the news – News on the TV, newspapers and even social media can be frightening, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take a break from reading these stories and focus on a hobby to reduce anxiety.
- Connect with other people – As we identified earlier, social isolation can harm mental health. Encourage people around your business to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
Charity partnership with Mind
In 2019, Premierline’s parent company, Allianz UK, signed a 3-year partnership with Mind, with the challenge of raising £1m for the mental health charity.
As of June 2020, businesses across Allianz UK have raised over £400,000 for Mind.
Business insurance with Premierline
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