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Webinar Focuses on Mental Health, Wellness During Uncertain Times

With much of America’s workforce working from home, managers and company leaders are evaluating employee mental health .

PESA hosted a webinar facilitated by Schlumberger on April 15 with clinical psychologist Dr. Janice Beal, Beal Counseling, who shed light on the challenge of supporting the mental health of employees given the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After opening remarks from PESA President Leslie Beyer, Engagement Committee Member Marie Caekebeke, Director ESG Performance & Engagement, Schlumberger, addressed the importance of creating an inclusive workspace with regard to mental health.

Dr. Beal provided attendees with an overview of mental health and wellness, and its importance in the workplace. She described the challenges affecting the utilization of mental health services, such as social stigma, and secrecy and shame. She emphasized, however that the pandemic can heighten existing issues or trigger new ones.

“Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with this stress will make you, the people you care about and your community stronger.” Dr. Janice Beal, Beal Counseling

As Dr. Beal described the various detrimental ways the current pandemic could affect both mental and physical health, she also emphasized how being mindful of the two can lead to better self-care and better coping skills.

“Everyone reacts differently to stress,” she said. ”This includes the stress associated with a pandemic. Children and teenagers deal differently from first responders who deal differently from the elderly and immunocompromised and so on. It is important for leaders to remember these different situations.”

Dr. Beal described conditions such as depression and anxiety and gave advice to leaders on the call to differentiate normal worries from levels of distress that are cause for concern. She also made recommendations for coping mechanisms with a specific focus on those working from home:

  • Take breaks from watching the news. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Recognize your best work time frames and work when you know you work best.
  • Prioritize the challenging task first.
  • Make use of technology. There are apps that can help with relaxation techniques, meditation, soothing sounds or exercise.

Dr. Beal suggested making time to unwind through enjoyable activities and hobbies, connecting with others, keeping an eye on mental and physical wellness, deep breathing, stretching, healthy eating, plenty of sleep, exercise and avoiding things like alcohol and drugs.

For leaders, Dr. Beal offered techniques for talking to their teams, including asking open-ended questions, which provide multiple benefits. She also provided tips for managers, including:

  • Stay connected to your team without being a micromanager, and show genuine concern
  • Be approachable without being intrusive
  • Be transparent about best practices and resources available to your team without singling anyone out individually
  • Ensure conversations are a two-way exchange
  • Practice listening
  • Encourage the employee to come up with solutions that work for them

Dr. Beal provided online, telephone and written resources for participants to manage mental health concerns for themselves and their teams.

DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION

For more information about PESA’s diversity and inclusion efforts, contact Director Membership Services Carolynn Henriquez.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES & SUPPORT GROUPS

  • Employee Assistant Programs (EAP)
  • Insurance Companies (Behavioral Health or Mental Health)
  • Harris Country COVID Hotline: 713 790-7000
  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK or Text MHA to 741741

 

2021 Programs

PESA’s exclusive executive training programs are now live, including the Executive Leadership Program, Inclusion & Diversity Business Champion and ESG Certification Program. Plus, the new PESA Certified Executive.