COVID19 has taken a significant toll on mental health. Higher education has been attuned to these challenges for students and offered additional support and resources; however, far too many colleges overlook the cost that the pandemic has exacted from faculty and staff. We have three tips to encourage the hearts and minds of those who work for you day-in and day-out.
1. Normalize struggles. Many members of your faculty and administration are driven, high-achieving professionals. That yields growth and productivity for your institution. It can also make individuals less willing to admit when they are having a difficult time. Cultivate a culture that knows it’s okay to seek help—we all need it from time to time.
2. Offer options. Asking for help is difficult for anyone. Have a wide range of support that meets staff at different places. From copay-free counseling services, to on-site programs such as yoga and meditation, make sure support is accessible to staff in a variety of options. Spread the word through effective channels: the best programs don’t do any good if no one knows about them.
3. Stay engaged. The mental-health strain has been compounded over months and years of the pandemic. There won’t be a quick fix to the stress and trauma individuals have endured. Commit to supporting your faculty and staff over the long haul. Your investment will yield well-being and loyalty in your employees.