by Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka, Chief Medical Officer, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) These are stressful and uncertain times. The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is very sudden and can be confusing. This may provoke anxiety for many people. Those with pre-existing anxiety and other mental health conditions may be particularly at risk. Individuals and teams whose work bring them in contact with infected persons may experience stress and anxiety. Other groups at risk for increased stress include the elderly, those caring for sick or vulnerable persons, and those experiencing significant changes to work, travel, or family life. Regardless of status or work function, we can anticipate that all of us will at some point experience some increased stress. At times like this, it is important to take steps to promote mental wellness and resilience. DBHIDS aligns with SAMHSA, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association to make the following recommendations: Connect with people: Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. Make phone calls frequently, FaceTime, and text to stay connected. Relax: Calm your body often by doing things that work for you—take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, pray, or engage in home-based [...]
In response to COVID-19, BHTEN and DBHIDS Education and Training are hosting a weekly webinar series about adapting to this unforeseen situation. Webinars will be held every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 pm via Zoom, beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Initial topics will include: Alcohol Dependence and COVID-19 Implications Stress & Coping during COVID-19 Supporting Children during COVID-19 Coping & Self Care Best Practices for Telecommuting Check back for links to the rest of the upcoming webinars.
In situations such as concern around COVID-19, the Coronavirus, many people experience increased stress, anxiousness and panic. The constant stream of articles being shared on social media and televised news reports can increase feelings of worry and uncertainty. To manage such situations, it is important to: Reference accurate prevention information, and reliable, factual resources such as the World Health Organization, the CDC and the City of Philadelphia in order to distinguish facts from rumors. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and avoid constant conversation with others about subjects that are distressing. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Seek information at specific times once or twice a day. Maintain a healthy lifestyle - including proper diet, sleep, and exercise. Stay connected with others online or over the phone even if you are maintaining your physical distance. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Distract yourself if feeling anxious, and do things that you enjoy doing. Ask your healthcare provider about tele-therapy or online mental health services if you need support and feel uneasy about attending therapy sessions outside the home. Request an increased supply of prescription medication or refill your medications as soon as they are allowed. Take a moment to review these resources to stay informed and mentally well: From [...]
In the workplace, chronic stress affects everything from quality of work to productivity and engagement. According to a study by Farleigh Dickenson University, sixty percent of lost workdays each year can be attributed to stress. In fact, according to the Global Benefits Attitude Survey, highly stressed employees take almost twice as many sick days a year as their counterparts who report low stress levels. This absenteeism impacts productivity, and ironically, can create more stress as the stressed employee falls further behind in workload. Beyond absenteeism, the same survey found that productivity also impacts “presenteeism,” a phrase used to describe when we show up to work unwell and unproductive. Here, rates were 50% higher in highly stressed employees than in their low stressed counterparts. Whether an employee is absent or merely present, stress directly impacts productivity in the workplace. Stress also affects the quality of an employee’s work. Simply put, when we are present but unproductive, we are not at our best, and therefore our output won’t be optimal. But stress can also contribute to mistakes, especially as employees become frazzled and have trouble concentrating. Additionally, as stress gives way to frustration and anger, the quality of working relationships can be impacted, ultimately making it harder for teams to achieve high performance. But perhaps of greater concern for employers is that [...]