Covid recovery and the impact on mental health
We have now lived through one of the most difficult challenges we have known and it is expected that recovery will take some considerable time to achieve.
Anxiety and feelings of isolation have increased dramatically over recent weeks and months. Childline and other domestic abuse helplines have reported increases in call volumes to their operatives. We rarely know the personal circumstances of all the people we work with and work for, and therefore we must take into account that this Pandemic has created an environment of heightened emotions.
A study by MQ (Transforming Mental Health and the Academy of Medical Sciences) was published in April 2020, reported on a survey carried out to establish attitudes and feelings about the Pandemic. In their findings they identified an increase in feelings of anxiety isolation, becoming mentally unwell, concerns about access to mental health support and services, anxiety-related directly to family and about relationships.
Most of us will be familiar with Maslow’s “Hierarchy of needs”. So, before we expect our IT teams, or sales teams to be ‘returning to normal’, or helping us to recover the business we need to carefully assess where they are on Maslow’s pyramid and support them through this. The idea of maintaining a ‘stiff upper lip’ perhaps leaves some feeling that they simply have no one to talk to, and therefore leading to further feelings of isolation and/or anxiety. This may manifest itself in many different ways, not least of which is making decisions which may negatively affect the whole organisation.
This allows us to begin to build a more stable platform for recovery. There is no such thing as the perfect plan. But there is also a more globally understood truism; Fail to plan—plan to fail. This is a planning phase, where we begin to look at the impact internally and externally on our families, our businesses and our industries. This is a critical time, as business leaders can be quick to focus on profit and business impact and neglect the people issues related to the crisis. We must be guarded against this, if we are to successfully transition to the next phase – we begin to recovery our business and return to “normality” (whatever that may look like) and begin working towards a more stable operating environment. Our teams begin to return, and the business begins to recover. Post crisis phase is one which many forget but is of key importance if we are to prepare for future events. Here we learn from decisions made, how we personally and collectively responded, and what the true impact of the crisis was. Here we have the opportunity here to improve our response to future pandemics and other significant disruptions.