After a year in “pandemic mode”, mental health issues are causing concern in the companies.
While social distancing can help decrease the spread of the coronavirus, it can trigger feelings of loneliness and situational depression, and in the corporate environment, measures to guarantee social distancing are resulting in isolation and lack of motivation.
Mental health issues among employees and their executives are a cause of a concern in many corporations these days, also among the NBCC member companies, and in a webinar organized by NBCC´s Diversity Committee and Innovation Norway this week, such issues were debated thoroughly by a great lineup of speakers.
The webinar also focused on the mental health of the more vulnerable groups of the Brazilian society, and keynote speaker Sarah Aline Rodrigues, a brilliant young Brazilian Psychologist and Specialist in Social Repairing at 99jobs, talked about how the pandemic and everything that came with it, has hit more vulnerable groups even harder than the general population, due to the lack of space and time to deal with such issues.
“Being healthy is a privilege which is unreachable to certain groups that do not fit a majority pattern (white, male, heterosexual, middle class etc)”, she said.
She challenged the audience to try to put themselves in the shoes of co-workers who do not have the same access to same opportunities, that being, and depending on the context, the black population, people with disabilities, women or the GLBT population.
“Suffering is individual, but it is also a result of social constructions that impedes access, opportunities and basic rights,” she said.
Gilberto Ururahy, Medical Practitioner specialized in preventive medicine and Co-Founder of Med-Rio Check Up talked about the sequels that the pandemic will leave due to the changes that workers were forced to make in their routines.
Surveys conducted by Ururahy and his clinic show increased levels of both stress and anxiety, depression and insomnia in patients.
“But there is a vaccine, totally free of charge and with no side effects what so ever, and that is to lead a healthy lifestyle”, he said.
Livia Marques, Author and Psychologist with a specialization in Behavioral Cognitive Therapy, who also has an MBA in People Management, talked about how structural and institutional racism in Brazil impacts on the mental health of black or minority workers, and warned about the consequences that the HR departments in the companies will have to prepare for, in a post-pandemic scenario, especially for more vulnerable groups that even before the pandemic felt invisible and suffered with social phobias.
“In a way we are all sick and we have all had to deal with stress during this pandemic, but we are not in the same boat. A large portion of the population is in fact excluded from decision making forums and without access to opportunities. They feel invisible, and stress caused by shootouts in the neighborhood and lack of internet connection due to robbery is different. So how can society stop the reproduction of harmful and oppressing patterns?” she asked in her presentation.
The NBCC diversity committee was created in December 2020, and the mental health event this week had a record turnout.
The event was recorded and is available to NBCC members.