- The mental health of nurses on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic is being compromised, according to Trusted Health. The nurse staffing company announced April 23 a partnership with Ohio State University College of Nursing to create a wellness and support program.
- Nurses employed by Trusted Health who are working in facilities with COVID-19 patients will have access to an emotional support line staffed by a nurse practitioner faculty, including mental health experts and supervised students. The support network will discuss stress factors with callers and "offer coping strategies and stress-reduction techniques," according to Trusted Health. Nurses who call the emotional support line may then opt to participate in a four- or eight-week wellness support partnership program through the college. The program will begin with nurses in New York and Michigan, and will launch nationwide in the coming weeks.
- "In just the last six weeks, nearly 40,000 nurses rushed to join Trusted’s platform, seeking jobs in hospitals where they can help against the COVID-19 pandemic," Dan Weberg, Ph.D., R.N., head of clinical innovation at Trusted Health and a clinical professor at Ohio State University, told HR Dive in an email. "But as they've cared for a massive volume of critical COVID-19 patients, without enough supplies or [personal] protective equipment, we've seen nurses’ mental health and well-being decline significantly." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages are currently posing a tremendous challenge to the U.S. healthcare system because of the COVID-19 pandemic."
During the current crisis and beyond, mental health wellness of employees should be a priority in the workplace, according to experts.
"One in every 5 American adults experience some form of mental illness — over 43 million Americans," William Kassler, chief medical officer of government health and human services at IBM Watson Health, told HR Dive in a recent interview. The workplace can have both positive and negative effects on an employees' mental health, Kassler said.
Starbucks continued its focus on mental health by launching "a reimagined mental health care benefit" for U.S. employees April 6, according to a company blog post. Employees and eligible family members can receive free access to 20 sessions a year with a mental health therapist or coach through Lyra Health. "Starbucks partners will be able to securely and confidentially seek evidence-based mental health treatment, identify available health providers that meet their individual needs, and book appointments on the spot with options to meet with their therapist or coach by video or in-person," the company said. Employees can also participate in self-guided online programs.
Target is offering U.S.-based team members a free year subscription to Daylight, a personalized web-based and mobile app designed to help individuals manage stress; and a year subscription to Sleepio, a web-based and mobile app that provides self-help tools to improve sleep. The apps are offered in addition to Target’s Team Member LifeResources, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all team members, dependents and any member of the household to "help with a variety of issues," according to the company’s website updated April 23.
Salesforce began offering virtual workouts and meditations after an internal survey showed that 36% of employees were experiencing mental health issues. "Our top priority remains the physical and mental health of our employees and their families," Salesforce said in a March 27 blog post. "We’ve been fortunate to have speakers including Thrive Global Founder and CEO Arianna Huffington, David Agus, M.D., and UCSF psychiatrist Kim Norman, M.D. join us to discuss how to manage anxiety and help our children and families through this difficult time."
Research shows that companies are beginning to place an emphasis on employee emotional and mental health wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, a nonprofit employer group, conducted an online survey of 256 companies across the country from March 18-23, and found more than half of employers are providing "special support for the emotional risks posed by COVID -19," according to the report published March 30. The industries surveyed included healthcare, retail/wholesale, manufacturing, professional services, public administration, finance and education services.