Workplace and the importance of mental health

With the stress and unknowns of the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on employment and the workplace, mental health has catapulted to the forefront for many organizations and employers – and for good reason. 

In general, many workers have blurred the lines between their home and work lives, and experience more stressors and less stability than they did pre-pandemic.

Mental Health America’s new Mind the Workplace 2021 Report looked at employees’ mental health in the last year, including questions about financial insecurity, burnout, supervisor support, and mental illness. According to the study of more than 5,000 employees nationwide, “most employees are experiencing signs of burnout,” and “workplace stress is severely impacting employees’ mental health.”

While the last year had a negative impact on many individuals’ mental health, it has also spurred a shift in the conversation about mental health in the workplace. In a survey of 1,005 employees by The Hartford, a majority indicated their company’s culture has been more accepting of mental health challenges in the past year, according to an article published by CNN Business.

Employer responses to support mental health can include improved education on recognizing signs of mental health distress and training on how to respond, easier and more efficient access to mental health service benefits, education about alcohol and substance use disorders, and more. Hear from Patti Seda, owner of Cedar-Rapids based company Patti Seda Consulting, about how investing in employees’ mental health typically positively impacts the company’s financial bottom line and workplace enjoyment. 

The impacts of the coronavirus on the workforce and mental health will continue to be felt for months and years. Although the onset of early pandemic changes was rapid for many, the transition back to in-person business and interactions will not be as quick.

Our daily lives have largely been disrupted, requiring new ways of thinking and causing new stressors at home and in the workplace. Not everyone has had the same experiences in the last 18 months, and not everyone will “return to normal” in the workplace at the same rate or in the same way. Being aware of these different needs and addressing them through a trauma-informed lens will ultimately best care for your employees and company.

For companies who have not yet focused on supporting their employees’ mental health, there are many options available. Caring for employees’ mental health can result in better workplace enjoyment and lower turnover rates, higher productivity, and lower rates of absenteeism.

Opportunities include:

  • Host Lunch and Learn presentations on mental health care in the workplace
  • Educate managers and supervisors on how to recognize signs of mental distress and how to respond
  • Instate mental health service benefits and/or promote the options internally
  • Empower departments to offer flexibility for employees as possible, including flexible hours and hybrid office time

When a mental health crisis does occur in the workplace, Foundation 2’s Mobile Crisis Outreach is here 24/7 to provide de-escalation, employee support, education, and connection to on-going support. We respond to workplaces in Linn, Benton, Bremer, Buchanan, Clinton, Cedar, Delaware, Jackson, Jones, Scott, Muscatine. For more information, contact our MCO services at 319-247-0030.

If your workplace or company is interested in learning more about supporting employee mental health, Foundation 2 Crisis Services is here to support you. Contact Katie Curtis at 319-362-1170. Together, we can be a trusted support when life gets tough – including in the workplace.


Hear from Angelica with the United Way of East Central Iowa on how the coronavirus pandemic and derecho impacted her mental health in the workplace during 2020-2021.

Hear from Emily Blomme, Foundation 2 chief executive officer, about how she has navigated the pandemic and mental health care – both personally and professionally. 

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