Supporting the Mental Health of Employees

Staff Are Your Greatest Asset

Pandemic situations are particularly stressful for healthcare workers whose daily lives are significantly altered as a result. From increased workload to risk of exposure, they’re dealing with a lot of change, risk, and stress. There are measures that can support workers’ mental health and wellbeing during these times of prolonged stress.


During times of significant uncertainty, it can be helpful for employees to know that you have a plan to address their concerns and support them during difficult times. In fact, having a plan may alleviate worker stress. Your staff are your greatest resource – you can support them


It can be helpful for employees to know that you have a plan to address their concerns and support them during difficult times. 


Acknowledge Their Feelings

Active support and acknowledgement of worker feelings can help alleviate worker concerns and lead to improved well-being. Workers who feel acknowledged and supported by management feel an enhanced sense of control over the situation, which results in greater feelings of well-being. The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends interventions to support healthcare workers during the COVID19 pandemic. 


Provide Resources and Social Support

Staff may not be aware of the resources they have access to for support, whether for their mental health or on topics that might reduce their stress (e.g. childcare, transmission prevention, etc.). In addition, many workers may feel isolated from their social network, whether because they’re stigmatized due to their role or find themselves in isolation at home. There may be opportunities to develop stronger social supports and connect with workers who are currently isolating and feel disconnected.


Strategies for Supporting Staff

Below are a few examples of strategies you can apply to support your staff. There are many more out there though, such as our “Leaders Helping Leaders” guide or the CAMH Mental Health and COVID-19 Discussion Forum.
  • Provide Psychological First Aid training to managers to help them support workers
  • Offer online or in-person mentorship within the team to develop camaraderie, where appropriate
  • Provide information about self-isolation protocols and the accompanying policies for compensation and sick leave to all workers
  • Consider regular check-ins with workers who are self-isolating and are not able to work right now
  • Provide helpful wellbeing resources to workers in a location easy for them to access
  • Ensure all workers are aware of any Employee and Family Assistance Programs available to them
  • Ensure workers are working the appropriate hours and taking their union-mandated breaks
Stop Watch

Be Available

These current times are not ‘business as usual’. Significant benefits can be garnered by workers who know that their workplace recognizes their efforts, has implemented proactive procedures, and has a plan to support their fears and concerns. Much of this comes down to clear communication of pertinent information and opportunities for workers to discuss and feel heard by their peers and by their management team. This is the time when leaders need to be visible/available. 

Web Resources

For more information, we have compiled a list of resources to help you cope up with anxiety during these difficult days.

Phone Line for Healthcare Workers

The Mobile Response Team is available to support the mental well-being and psychological safety of frontline healthcare workers who are experiencing distress and mental health concerns in response to COVID-19. Call: 1-888-686-3022 or Email:

Enhancing Psychological Health, Wellness, and Resilience

Available through SafeCare BC LEARNING [SPACE], this workshop is free during COVID-19 and addresses stress, burnout, compassion fatigue, trauma, and moral distress – issues that often affect those working in the continuing care sector. This self-paced online course is completed in an average of six hours.

Mental Health: Psychologically Healthy Workplace

Available through SafeCare BC LEARNING [SPACE], This workshop is free during COVID-19 and examines best practices in developing a psychologically healthy workplace for employees. Average completion time is one-hour.