The Midwest Transit Conference wrapped up on Thursday, Sept. 9th with a keynote address from Megan D. Keyes, Ph. D. with Trauma Empowered Consulting. Dr. Keyes provided an insightful presentation on “Mental Health Impacts & Strategies for Resilience in the Transit Industry”.
Dr. Keyes discussed common stressors during COVID-19 and how those stressors intersect with the stressors on essential workers during the pandemic. Common Stressors include concerns about contracting COVID, safety measures and balancing family with professional commitments. Essential workers have the added stressors of concerns of infecting loved ones, frequently changing work protocols, excessive workload due to increased demands and enhanced safety concerns due to angry or violent passengers when enforcing mask mandates. These factors have led to 1 in 4 Essential Workers being diagnosed with a Mental Health Disorder since the start of the pandemic. The most common diagnosis are anxiety and depression.
The impact of chronic stress on an individual through repeated activation of the “stress response” can impact one’s overall physical and psychological well-being. Long term chronic stress can lead to: anxiety, depression, impaired concentration, fatigue, insomnia, heart disease, pain issues and weakened immune system.
Due to these concerns, it is important to prioritize Mental Health in the workplace. The best ways to accomplish this are by reducing stigma and barriers; increasing access to resources and services; and supporting overall mental health during the pandemic.
Additional information and resources regarding workplace Mental Health can be found below.
Pandemic-Related Mental Health Resources
- American Psychological Association: COVID-19 Information & Resources
- National Center for PTSD: COVID-19 Resources for Managing Stress
- International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies: COVID-19 Resources
- Center for Traumatic Stress Studies: COVID-19 Pandemic Resource Pages
Workplace Mental Health Resources
- Talk. Act. at Work (training module) https://workplacementalhealth.org/employer-resources/notice-talk-act-at-work
- National Safety Council: https://www.nsc.org/workplace
- Promote Employee Mental Health & Wellbeing https://www.nsc.org/workplace/safety-topics/safer/mental-health-and-wellbeing
- Working With Benefits Providers: Mental Health Issues Checklist https://www.nsc.org/getmedia/d8b0ac72-26b2-4dde-969c-d274e4cd8eb3/checklist-benefits-providers.pdf
- CDC Workplace Health Promotion: https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/index.html