#22 How to manage employee mental health through Coronavirus

employee mental health coronavirus mental health podcast

What happens to employee mental health when you add a global pandemic like Covid-19 / coronavirus to the usual stresses and strains of work and life?  I sought out experts in workplace mental health field to get their advice. I was fortunate to find Candice Schaefer, the Head of Global Employee Wellness at Twitter and Myra Altman, the Head of Clinical Care at Modern Health, a mental health platform.

Listen To Episode 22

During our discussion, we identify the two key impacts of coronavirus on mental health : increased overall anxiety and loneliness.  We discuss how companies should manage the impact of coronavirus on mental health at work. And we also look at the positive impact of coronavirus on mental health at work.

Myra and Candice identify 6 ways that you can support employee mental health through the coronavirus / covid 19 outbreak.

Take Action

  1. Make the logistics of working from home easy. This can reduce anxiety because it’s stressful to adjust to working in a new environment. Make sure you’re helping with equipment, software setup, expenses and ergonomic challenges,
  2. Establish new norms that encourage people to connect each day, for example a daily standup. Helping people connect can combat loneliness,
  3. Create new ways of connecting socially, for example a scheduled Pet Happy Hour where pet owners get online and introduce their pets. You could also get people to share a #before and #after challenge for setting up their WFH space. This will also help combat loneliness,
  4. Encourage people to maintain health exercise habits, for example holding a step challenge or having a group walk using phones + Zoom. A healthy exercise routine can combat anxiety,
  5. Help people maintain a routine and set appropriate boundaries so “work” and “life” don’t blur and create anxiety. The social cues you have in an office (that the lights are off and everyone left) aren’t there at home. There are several different ways to set a boundary. Individuals can nominate a buddy to remind them to step away from their desk to help with social connection. Or people can set an alarm, or have an announcement in Slack,
  6. Managers should invest extra time in calling people on the phone. This both makes a social connection and lets you look for signs of anxiety. If you’re not the type of manager who is “good” at connecting with people human to human, this is a great time to try,
  7. And at the corporate level, communicate, communicate, communicate. Uncertainty creates anxiety and right now employees may be uncertain about how long they’ll be working away from the office and whether there are going to be impacts to the business and their job.

Links

  • Keeping Twitter Employees Safe During Coronavirus (article)
  • Supporting your teams in stressful situations (article)
  • Dr Candice Schaefer (guest)
  • Dr Myra Altman (guest)
  • Modern Health (company)
  • Twitter (company)

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#21 A psychiatrist, counselor and advocate walk into a podcast

mental health at work mental health podcast

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’re doing something a little bit different to mix things up.  We’ll listen in on a conversation about mental illness at work between 3 people who work in the mental health field. Firstly, we have Catherine Davies who is a licensed psychiatrist. Secondly, we have Joe Guppy, a therapist turned author and teacher. And finally we have Jeremiah Bainbridge, who is a mental health program director with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Seattle.

Listen To Episode 21

Show Notes

In their wide ranging conversation, Catherine, Joe and Jeremiah try to define stigma. They also dig into the ways that health benefits can help and hinder mental health care. And finally they generate a cornucopia of ideas about what businesses should be doing to support people who manage mental illness at work.

I want to thank Catherine, Jeremiah and Joe for making the time to record this podcast amongst

Links

  • WHO Report on Mental Health in the Workplace (article)
  • NAMI Seattle -Jeremiah’s employer (organization)
  • Dyad Mental Health – Catherine’s practice (organization)
  • Joe Guppy (website)
  • My Fluorescent God – Joe’s book (book)
  • Long Hours Backfire for People and for Companies (article)

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.


#20 Finding Perspective, Bipolar and Alcoholism at Work

bipolar and alcoholism mental health podcast

By day, Daniel is a sales manager at a credit card processing company and by night he’s a stand up comedian. Bipolar and alcoholism bring a unique perspective to Daniel’s work. As a stand up comedian, his life provides plenty of material, and his bipolar means he’s two comedians in one. As a sales manager, he’s able to stay calm and not be driven by the potential for success and failure. Because of his illnesses, Daniel has an honesty and an insight about him that cuts through the day-to-day business bullshit. As one of his colleagues, he makes work interesting and fun.

Listen To Episode 20

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we get to know Daniel a lot better.  He talks about comedy, and how bipolar means he’s two different comedians in one performer.  He shares the advice he got from a homeless woman in Central Park, that lead him to sobriety.  And finally, he reflects on the slightly nihilistic outlook on life, that helps him keep things in perspective.

Links

Here’s some places to find Daniel :

As a result of Daniel’s Instagram, I’ve just had a fit of laughter. That’s the genius of people with bipolar and alcoholism.

About Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. For example, mood swings include emotional highs called mania or hypomania, and lows called depression. On the other hand, Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression.

When depressed bipolar patients may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest in most activities. Then, when a patients mood shifts to mania or the less extreme hypomania, patients may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most patients will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any.Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, patients manage mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counseling.

Getting Help

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#19 Garbage And Gas To A Mental Health Advocate – ADHD

mental health advocate mental health podcast

Todd and his family identified his ADD fairly early in life. For a while, a regimen of medication helped him be a 4-point student. Then in 7th grade, a friend introduced him to marijuana. Todd decided he’d found a different way to manage ADD, quit his medications and started a rollercoaster that didn’t fully settle down until he found the power of community through Crossfit. Eventually, Todd was able to take his experience and be a mental health advocate for others.

Listen To Episode 19

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’ll talk about whether we’d live our lives again without our mental illness. We’ll discuss how Microsoft has become more mental illness friendly under new CEO Satya Nadella. Because of the change in culture, Todd has been able to step up as a mental health advocate. Finally, Todd explains why he arrived to record this episode bearing a plant.

About ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their symptoms and experience ADHD at work. But they can learn strategies to be successful.

While treatment won’t cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#18 A Monster, Saved By Her Knight In Shining Armor – Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Suicide

body dysmorphic disorder mental health at work

“I remember doing it, and I remember making the conscious effort. But it really wasn’t me … but it was me. It’s a really hard thing to explain.”

Listen To Episode 18

Show Notes

That was Shana, describing what she was feeling just after swallowing handfuls of pills during a suicide attempt.  Shana was the Silent Superhero featured in episode 17, where she shared her experience living and working with PTSD and OCD.  In this episode, we pick up Shana’s story and get into her experience of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). She also talks about how she tried to end her life, what that felt like and how Richard from episode 5 became her knight in shining armor. 

About Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.

When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely focus on your appearance and body image, repeatedly checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day. Your perceived flaw and the repetitive behaviors cause you significant distress, and impact your ability to function in your daily life.

You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures to try to “fix” your perceived flaw. Afterward, you may feel temporary satisfaction or a reduction in your distress, but often the anxiety returns and you may resume searching for other ways to fix your perceived flaw.

Treatment of body dysmorphic disorder may include cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#17 My Boss Wants To Fire Me, PTSD And OCD At Work

OCD at work mental health podcast

Shana is an HR professional managing bipolar, PTSD, OCD and body dysmorphic disorder at work. On their own, any one of these conditions can be overwhelming. Managing all of them together should be an insurmountable obstacle, but it’s one Shana overcomes. Even so, there are serious consequences, like having 31 jobs in 20 years and attempting suicide.

Listen To Episode 17

Show Notes

In the first of two episodes featuring Shana, we’ll hear her experience with PTSD and OCD at work. Shana will explain the precision required to set her clocks and the complexity of hanging her wardrobe. She’ll talk about how her PTSD caused her to hold so many jobs. And she explains why PTSD and OCD are difficult conditions to treat.

Don’t miss the next episode where we’ll pick up Shana’s story again and learn what body dysmorphic disorder is, and get an honest reflection on attempting suicide.

About OCD

People with Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.

People with OCD try to ignore or stop obsessions, but that only increases distress and anxiety. Because of the distress, people with OCD feel driven to perform compulsive acts to try to ease their stress. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts or urges, they keep coming back. This leads to more of the same behavior — the vicious cycle of OCD.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#16 Marnie’s Mental Health Management Masterclass

mental health management mental health podcast

Marnie works at Expedia helping teams tell stories, which she describes as her dream job.  Like me, Marnie lives with bipolar disorder and focuses on her mental health management. Before her diagnosis, Marnie went through two marriages and divorces before an offhand comment in an acting class nudged her to explore her mental state.

Listen To Episode 16

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, Marnie shares what her acting teacher said that lead her to her bipolar diagnosis.  Marnie explains her process for identifying the side effects of medication. We have fun role playing how a manager or HR professional should handle a conversation with an employee with mental illness about mental health management. And in addition to that, she reflects on the positive and negative ways the mania part of her bipolar has affected her career.

Please note, due to an equipment problem there are occasional audio dropouts in this episode. As a result of this, words are occasionally inaudible or a bit garbled.

Links

  • An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield (book)
  • Expedia, Marnie’s employer (company)

About Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. Those mood swings include emotional highs called mania or hypomania, and lows called depression. Bipolar disorder has also been called manic depression.

When depressed, bipolar patients may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest in most activities. Then, when a patients mood shifts to mania or hypomania patients may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. Swinging between moods can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, patients manage mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder can be treated with medications and psychological counseling.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.


#15 Stress, Drugs and Rigmarole, Epilepsy At Work With Kyle

epilepsy at work mental health podcast

Grand mal epileptic seizures are a serious business, often leaving someone on the floor convulsing. They’re scary for people around them and very dangerous for those who experience them. Kyle’s been living with them for nearly 20 years. Despite that length of time, it’s only recently he’s to come to terms with the fact that epilepsy at work is a condition you need to take seriously and manage carefully.

Listen To Episode 15

Show Notes

Kyle’s resistance to managing epilepsy isn’t through a lack of knowledge. For example, his mother has it and his two sisters take medication as a precaution against it.  The resistance comes from something deeper, the resistance we all have to admitting that there’s some part of us that doesn’t work right. That’s something that we must eventually learn to accept to begin the healing process.

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we hear about Kyle’s first grand mal seizure and what triggers them. In addition to his triggers, Kyle shares what it’s like to experience a seizure, and how long it takes him to recover.  And he also reflects on different places he’s worked and how some have been better and many have been worse for managing epilepsy at work.

Links

About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which abnormal brain activity can cause a variety of symptoms, for example seizures, unusual sensations, or sometimes loss of awareness. Anyone can develop epilepsy and it affects men and woman of all races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.

Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. Most people with epilepsy can be treated with medication or surgery. Some people with with epilepsy require lifelong treatment to control seizures. For others, the seizures eventually go away.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#14 Drums, Depression and a Dog, with Kristina Schiano

depression Kristina Schiano mental health podcast

Kristina Schiano is a professional drummer who at 23 years old has built a following of more than 750,000 subscribers to her Youtube channel. Her most popular video has been watched more than 10 million times.  These are remarkable achievements and even more remarkable when you consider periods of anxiety as a teenager left her housebound. In a fan Q&A session, one of her fans asked about her mental health which lead Kristina Schiano to reveal her depression to her fans.

Listen To Episode 14

Show Notes

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’ll hear about Kristina’s on again, off again relationship with treatment. She’ll explain how anxiety and depression mix with a life lived on camera and social media. We’ll hear how Kristina Schiano manages her depression and anxiety, and she’ll share practical advice for getting through the more difficult times.

Links

About Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. This disorder is also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Depression affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. Because of those problems, you may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out of”. Depression may require long-term treatment but don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both. People fare best when they commit to working with depression.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.

#13 When A Good Night’s Sleep Isn’t Enough – Narcolepsy At Work

narcolepsy at work mental health at work

As Shannon read the driving direction, she fell asleep again. This wasn’t the first time, in fact, she’d done it after every direction. Her inability to stay awake had become a problem, and she finally to finally see a doctor. The doctor informed her she has narcolepsy. It hadn’t just affected road trips with her boyfriend. She’d also been wrestling with narcolepsy at work.

Listen To Episode 13

Show Notes

Narcolepsy is a rare neurological condition that disrupts sleep patterns. Disrupted sleep leads to sleep attacks, the sudden need to sleep during the day. It can also cause sleep hallucinations and sometimes cataplexy, which is sudden loss of muscle control.  These symptoms all make it challenging to manage narcolepsy at work.

In this episode of Silent Superheroes, we’ll learn what narcolepsy and how it’s different than feeling sleepy a lot.  Shannon explains how and why she got diagnosed, and the surprising preferred way she manages narcolepsy at work. Shannon will share her experiences working with narcolepsy and share a few simple things that a business can do to support a narcoleptic employee.

Links

  • Geniuslink, the company Shannon co-founded (business)
  • The Research Is Clear, Long Hours Backfire (article)
  • Xyrem Patent Dispute (article)

About Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder in which sufferers have overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy can cause serious disruptions in your daily routine. Sometimes, narcolepsy can be accompanied by a sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), which can be triggered by strong emotion, for example laughing.

Narcolepsy is a chronic condition for which there’s no cure. However, medications and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms. Also, support from others — family, friends, employers, teachers — can help cope with narcolepsy.

Getting Support

Remember, the people you hear on Silent Superheroes are sharing their opinions about mental health and mental illness. They are not giving advice. For that reason, please consult with your care provider before making a change to your treatment approach.

It’s important to take your mental health seriously. Consequently, if you need to speak to someone you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text crisistextline.org on 741741. Both provide 24×7 confidential counseling to people in the United States. Worldwide visit http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Because you listened to the  podcast, you can help others find it by leaving us a review on iTunes. Or if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review on your favorite podcasting service.