June is National Safety Month and a perfect time to check in with ourselves and others to ensure a healthy state of mind, which is critical to our overall safety.
As we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and racial tension in our communities, it is easy to let worry takeover.
“Mental health issues, like anxiety and depression, are trending at an all-time high during these uncertain times, according to the data and analytics group YouGov,” said Caitlin Brady, a PPL Electric Utilities strategic communications manager and president of REACH, which focuses on the well-being of differently-abled PPL employees as well as their friends, families and the communities PPL serves. “Usually, we rely on visual cues to let us know someone may be struggling. But, with our physical distancing, this becomes increasingly difficult.”
The REACH business resource group, which stands for Rallying Employees Above Challenging Histories, is a champion for mental health and well-being, and provided the following tips to employees during a recent webinar from Govan Martin, executive director for Prevent Suicide PA, to help identify non-visual cues that may indicate someone is struggling:
- Physical complaints like headaches, stomachaches, fatigue
- Cognitive problems, like having trouble concentrating
- Changes in mood, behavior or work product
Don’t forget to check in with yourself, too. Here are some steps from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that you can take to help focus and improve mental well-being:
- Take time to unwind. Take part in at least one hour a day of an activity you enjoy that is just your time, such as reading, walking, exercising or cooking.
- Keep a regular schedule. Make sure you’re establishing a new routine if you’re working remotely and make sure you stick with it.
- Get plenty of sleep and eat healthy, well balanced meals.
- Connect with others. We are practicing physical distancing, not social distancing. Connect virtually with family and friends.
- Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories. Hearing about the current state of affairs in the world repeatedly can be upsetting.
It’s important to remember during these challenging times that you are not alone. Don’t suffer in silence, get help and find hope.
PPL has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Magellan Healthcare that provides employees with free resources to help manage stress, anxiety and feelings of isolation. The EAP includes up to six free counseling sessions per issue each year for employees and their eligible dependents and household members. Anyone suffering with stress or anxiety should check to see if their company or healthcare provider offers similar services.
If you suspect someone may need help, you can contact the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) for support and resources at 800-950-NAMI (6264).
You can also reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).