Engaging Leader: Podcast #206: Coronavirus – Supporting Employee Mental Health During a Pandemic


Podcast #206: Coronavirus – Supporting Employee Mental Health During a Pandemic

From Engaging Leader with Jesse Lahey

Listen to the podcast here.

In this interview, Jesse Lahey speaks with Dr. William Kessler, the Deputy Chief Health Officer at IBM, to discuss how we as leaders can support our workers’ mental health.

With the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel yet to be seen, there has been an observable dive in mental health; in an Axios-Ipsos survey from March, 43% of respondents said their emotional well-being had gotten worse in the past week as more people deal with isolation.

With this in mind, Dr. Kessler understands that it’s a daunting task to care for a large-scale workforce – IBM has over 350,000 employees under their umbrella, after all – but he provides several ways to help workers tackle unwanted emotions and move into a healthier head space.

He says that “assessing, triaging, referring, and implementing” existing policies can allow us a better look at our capabilities as an organization. To start, we should evaluate our current health plans. By asking ourselves if we’re providing sufficient mental healthcare, we can ensure a balance of mental and physical services for our employees.

Lastly, he suggests making mental health a more approachable topic in the workplace. If we address it openly and tackle its stigma as well as observe our current efforts and offerings, we can walk away from this pandemic as a healthier, stronger company.



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