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by Clare Morin
HR Trends

Mental well-being in the age of COVID-19, Part 1


Dr. Kristen Lee, Ed.D., LICSW, is an award-winning behavioral science professor, clinician and author. To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month, we bring together Dr. Lee and Unum’s Laurie Mitchell for a two-part discussion about mental well-being and resilience. 

Key takeaways

  • The World Health Organization has classified “burnout” not just as a mental health issue but as a workplace condition. The uncertainty of the current pandemic is making burnout even more of a risk. [02:17]
  • In resilience research, the term “protective factors” is used to explain practices in our daily lives that nourish and edify us. Many of these routines have been disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic. [04:47]
  • Despite the challenges, modern brain science shows we are a species wired for adaption. We have a lot within our control that can help us, such as nutrition, hydration, proper sleep and getting out in nature. [06:25]
  • Be aware of your “reserve capacity.” We need what are called “break rituals.” Scientifically grounded self-care is about deliberate attention to mind and body. All these actions have a cumulative effect. Make deposits of self-care into your own bank to sustain yourself through complexity. [09:12]
  • Employers should encourage this personal self-care, but also make sure employees are aware of the resources available to them, such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), counselling, apps that can support traditional care, and behavioral health teleservices. [14:52]


  • Book: Mentalligence: A New Psychology of Thinking: Learn What it Takes to Be More Agile, Mindful and Connected in Today's World, 50% off affinity discount for podcast listeners. Select the "Buy from us" button and type in code “Resilience2020.” 
  • Course: Cultivating Resilience Through Crisis, free and on demand during May 2020
  • Report[A1] (PDF download): Mental Health in the Workplace, May 2020 Update
  • Active Minds
  • Caring for Coronavirus Anxiety, a project by Shine
  • Harvard/McLean Hospital, mental health resources
  • American Society of Suicide Prevention
  • On May 26, tune in to Part 2 of this episode: Organizational approaches to mental well-being.

 Dr. Kristen Lee
Behavioral science professor, clinician and author

 Laurie Mitchell
Assistant Vice President, Global Wellbeing & Health Management at Unum

More resources:
Report: Mental Health in the Workplace, May 2020 Update 

Ep. 9: Improving financial wellness during COVID-19
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Get in touch:
(207) 200-6685


Episode 13

by Clare Morin