The Other Kind Of Health Crisis

At this point it’s clear that the pandemic is fuelling a spike in mental health issues, adding a challenging new dimension to the crisis. As you lead your team forward into an uncertain future, what can you do to minimize the impact of this dimension of the crisis? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • Physical and economic health tend to dominate the conversation, but there’s another side to this evolving crisis: “daily doses of death, isolation and fear are generating widespread psychological trauma”.
  • As if that wasn’t bad enough, our industry was already facing high levels of anxiety and depression before the pandemic.
  • So what can you do—as a human and a marketing leader—to acknowledge and cope with the issue? Start with yourself before you consider the wider team. Take some time to honestly assess your own mental state, bearing in mind that anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways.
  • Specifically, make sure you’re taking enough steps to protect your mental health while working from home.
  • And beware the perils of the anxiety distraction feedback loop (I’d tell you more about it but I’m feeling stressed and I need to watch 50 cat videos right now).
  • As a leader, look for ways to connect with your team in more meaningful ways. These three simple words offer a solid starting point: “How are you?”
  • Once that simple question’s been asked, your next task is to listen closely to their answer—without judgement. This is the second step of the ALGEE framework, used by front line mental health professionals. It’s also a useful skill that every leader should cultivate.
  • Helping your team through direct interaction isn’t your only option. Consider adjusting policies (sick leave, bonuses etc.) with the goal of giving your team extra time and space to take care of themselves and their families.
  • Many firms are also adjusting benefit packages to give employees extra mental health support. Why not talk to HR about what’s possible here? If that’s too difficult, consider re-channeling some training budget into headspace memberships for everyone.
  • Final tip: take a moment to let them know it’s okay to be a little less than perfect right now. Hopefully they know it already, but hearing it from you one more time couldn’t hurt.
Issue #94
May 24, 2020

Further Reading