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by Clare Morin
HR Trends

How employers can support employee mental health this fall


A new survey shows that with the ongoing pandemic and complexities caused by school closures this fall, employers are expecting a rise in mental health challenges for their employees. In this episode, two world-renowned mental health experts from Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital, Dr. Kerry Ressler and Dr. Lisa Coyne, join Unum’s employee benefits and well-being strategy expert ,Robert Hecker, to discuss the survey’s findings and how employers can support their employees.

Key Takeaways 

  • Employers are expecting a big rise in mental health issues. 85% of employers surveyed are very or somewhat concerned about their employees’ mental health or wellness needs. (02:21)
  • The stress people are experiencing is not new. However, the pandemic and other environmental factors have made these issues more acute, and employees are exhibiting higher levels of stress. The challenge is figuring out the right action to take to support employees in a meaningful way. (3:28)
  • Employers can encourage healthy behaviors and preventive measures that will help keep most people healthy and resilient. Additionally, employers should watch for behaviors and symptoms that suggest professional help is needed. (5:39)
  • Parents with children who are different ages or have behavioral health issues will be likely to experience even more draining demands. All parents with children will be at risk of burnout. (9:30)
  • Employers should help parents be aware of resources for their or their kids’ mental health and consider offering flexible work schedules. (10:23)

Additional resources:
Register for an upcoming SHRM webinar: How employers can mitigate a looming mental health crisis

COVID-19: mental health resources: https://home.mcleanhospital.org/covid-19-resources

 How to deal with ongoing stress caused by working from home: https://www.mcleanhospital.org/news/how-deal-ongoing-stress-caused-working-home

How mindfulness helps families cope with stress

Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, McLean Hospital and Professor, Harvard Medical School 

Lisa Coyne, Ph.D., Founder and Senior Clinical Consultant of the OCD Institute for Children and Adolescents, McLean Hospital, and Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

Robert Hecker, Vice President, Global Total Rewards, Unum 

More resources:
Why employers expect a mental health crisis this fall
Read now

Leave management in a post-pandemic world
Watch now


Episode 20

by Clare Morin