EMPLOYEE MENTAL HEALTH: TWO YEARS INTO THE PANDEMIC

By: Premier Value Provider Inc.

Today, many employees continue to experience a wide range of mental health concerns. While these experiences can be greatly influenced by the lingering pandemic, they can also be attributed to the different psychosocial factors an employee is experiencing such as work arrangements, variable work schedules, workload, family dynamics, etc. In line with these, the common mental health concerns of employees revolve around stress, anxiety, and depression.


Last 2020, PVP first conducted a study about the State of Mental Health of the Philippine Workforce during the Pandemic. We started this study when the pandemic first hit the country, particularly the period of May 2020 to January 31, 2021, when people were still adjusting to the new normal and the pandemic was at its peak. With a total of 10, 245 employees sampled from 45 client companies and 300 companies from public surveys, findings show that a substantial percentage of employees were experiencing mild to extremely severe levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.


In 2021, PVP further refined its assessment tool for organizational mental health giving rise to the eWellnessMetre. A total of 8,695 employees answered the eWellnessMetre providing insights into the current mental health status of the Philippine workforce. eWellnessMetre is not intended to diagnose a person but to check their current mental health condition and see if these varied mental health factors influence their workplace performance



The table above compares the percentage of employees who experienced mild to extremely severe levels of stress, anxiety, and depression in 2020 vs 2021


In 2020, 19% of employees experienced varying levels of stress, 43% experienced varying levels of anxiety, and 36% of employees had bouts of depression in varying levels --- from mild to extremely severe. Meanwhile, in 2021, a higher percentage of employees at 23% experienced different stress levels, 48% of employees had various anxiety levels, and 44% of employees experienced different levels of depression --- from mild to extremely severe.

With an increasing number of employees reporting mental health concerns, companies may want to zero in on the segment that exhibits critical levels of mental health concerns --- those experiencing moderate to extremely severe levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. In the 2021 Study, data show the following classification of employees experiencing:



Stress:

77% of employees have a normal stress level.

10% of employees have a mild stress level.

However, 13% of employees have critical stress levels:

8% of employees have a moderate stress level

4% of employees have a severe stress level

1% of employees have an extremely severe stress level




Anxiety:

52% of employees have a normal anxiety level.

17% of employees have a mild anxiety level.

31% of employees have critical anxiety levels:

15% have a moderate anxiety level

7% have a severe anxiety level

9% have an extremely severe anxiety level





Depression:

56% of employees have a normal depression level.

16% of employees have a mild depression level.

24% of employees have critical depression levels:

15% have moderate depression level.

5% have severe depression level.

4% have extremely severe depression level.




From the data presented above, we can see that, indeed, a significant number of employees need mental health attention or even intervention. We postulate that the prolonged experience of the pandemic and the struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel in this pandemic can be the main culprits which left many people in the languishing state last 2021, thus reporting critical levels of mental health issues.


However, despite these concerning figures, we can also see that companies are now aware of how fragile their employees’ mental health is especially during this pandemic. This gave rise to the prioritization of mental health in their employee development and welfare programs which includes mental health trainings, webinars, as well as the availment of online counseling and online mental health consultations.

In fact, PVP’s own data show that around 292 employees were assisted, helped, and counseled in PVP’s Listening Room. We have noted that the common concerns of employees availing of our Listening Room are about anxieties and concerns due to COVID-19, work-related stress, and personal mental health hygiene.


Our training on Designing and Developing Mental Health Program in the Workplace was the most attended Mental Health training last year with a total of 95 mental health champions participating. This means that almost a hundred companies are now establishing their own mental health programs for their organizations benefiting the well-being of their employees which could only positively impact their organizations as well.


These data show the positive move that companies are taking with respect to the issue of mental health in their organizations. We urge companies to continuously monitor and gauge the mental health of their employees, such as by taking annual or bi-annual mental health surveys. With regular surveys, companies can directly measure the mental health scores of their workforce and take preventive and appropriate actions for their employees based on factors that surface as contributing to their organization’s mental health score.




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