The Washington State Department of Health recently published a “Statewide High-Level Analysis of Forecasted Behavioral Health impacts from COVID-19” which describes the impact on behavioral health and mental health that we should anticipate based on common psychological responses to disasters. Dealing with changes in the business is hard enough, but as we will go through phases of human response to this disaster, we have an even greater need to care for the psychological welfare of our employees. The typical response to disaster is RESILIENCE rather than disorder, and we can resiliency by:
a) Focus on developing social CONNECTIONS big and small. We have chosen to do a team happy hour with fun games and frequent person check-ins
b) Reorienting and developing a sense of PURPOSE.
c) Becoming adaptive and psychologically FLEXIBLE.
d) Focusing on HOPE.
In Washington State, approximately 2 million people – a full 30% of the population – will have a behavioral health diagnosis. My biggest concern is that approximately half of the those individuals – approximately 15% of adults and 8% of adolescents – will develop a substance-related disorder, or vice versa. This includes alcohol, cannabis, and opioid user disorders. As a result, we can expect substance-related symptoms and disorders to increase over the coming months and we as managers need to have compassion and a willingness to help our employees through their own substance-related disorders and those within their families.
Taking care of our employees and community includes both keeping them safe from the ravages of the novel coronavirus and helping build the resilient social foundation and support to make it through the natural psychological responses to a disaster.