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Coronavirus Underscores Importance of Organizational Sensitivity to Mental Health Challenges

Now more than ever, organizations worldwide need to be compassionate about emotional and mental health struggles and offer resources to address them. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of mental health and requires reasonable accommodation in the performance of job functions. The pandemic has likely exponentially increased the group of workers to whom these provisions apply. Employers can take the following proactive steps to mitigate individual and group challenges related to mental health:

  • Raise Awareness: Train management on recognizing warning signs, providing information and resources, and escalating problems and requests for accommodation to Human Resources as warranted. Educate everyone about the importance of avoiding stereotypes, being compassionate and kind to those in distress, and accessing resources without fear of stigma.
  • Review Policies: Ensure policies are up to date on leave practices, FMLA, ADA, and any other related state laws.
  • Enhance Wellness Programs: Encourage employee health through fitness challenges and incentives. Provide access to mental health resources.