Reader Radar: Readers Dive Into Mental Health Impacts
How are you? And how is your team? Your customers ? There’s a lot of emphasis these days on wellness, and certainly in our business, financial wellness – this week we asked readers about mental health and its implications.
In fact, one of the compelling workshops at the upcoming NAPA 401(k) 2022 Summit features Melissa Doman, MA – Organizational Psychologist, former Clinical Mental Health Therapist, and author of Yes, you can talk about mental health at work (here’s why and how to do it really well), who spoke at last year’s Summit – and again this year’s focus will be on the important topic of mental health – how it can impact your team, your customers and, yes, on you. But let’s get to the poll.
Much has been said about the importance of financial well-being and its impact on physical well-being. In fact, according to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, poor finances often lead to stress and anxiety that can further impact finances. We asked readers how, if anything, they considered mental health factors in this equation.
Impact on mental health
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority – 91% – saw it as integral not only to general well-being, but also to financial well-being. The others saw it as important, but beyond the realm of something the councilors could do anything about. As one reader commented, “We’re not miracle workers and financial wellness seminars offer good advice but don’t directly impact holistic outcomes.”
On the other hand, we received a number of comments from readers – here is a sampling:
I spend a lot of time with plan members. These sessions are partly consultative and partly therapeutic.
Mental health affects decision making which could negatively affect their financial savings.
I think mental health is just as important as financial and physical well-being. It’s almost like a 3-legged stool.
I believe questions about stress or happiness should be incorporated into any financial wellness assessment tools that are used. Stress/happiness surveys would also be a valuable tool. Outcome measures of financial well-being should consider moving the needle on mental health, stress, and happiness.
If you’re depressed and stuck in this hole so to speak, taking care of yourself every day is a chore. Worrying about bad finances, stress and anxiety and increased depression will only intensify things.
We asked readers about their personal mental health (usually):
45% – Fairly well
27% – Having good and bad days
16% – Everything is fine
11% – “I would really like to get out of this funk that I find myself in most of the time.”
Now one reader has commented, “Why nothing better than ‘Pretty good’? It looks like a set of biased answers. Well, maybe it wasn’t intentional. But here are some additional contextual comments:
People keep telling me I should meet a therapist, I’m going to love it. I’m not there yet MENTALLY
I believe it was worse in late 2020/early 2021. I had to work on it and I still do…thinking what I’m thinking. Making sure I’m not stuck is hard at times, but necessary so I don’t get stuck on the weeds of the moment. I read exceptional books that gave me a better longer-term view of my life and made me not want to waste time in the details of that time. Live here and now in the present time. I can’t change the past or control the future (although I can put intentionality into today’s actions to hopefully improve tomorrow). And, there are a lot of things that are out of your control. Control the things I can control, Let go of everything else… especially worries. Praying, spending time alone, getting away from the media, exercising regularly, etc.
I didn’t realize how bad my mental health was until I finished and started fully accepting and improving it. The pandemic has affected me more deeply than I could have ever imagined.
I had many therapies to regain good mental health. It was a long climb.
But… I had to take 2 sanity afternoons last week. I often run at 110%, being aware of how business dynamics and covid affect me and leaning in to take care of myself mentally is of great importance at this time.
By nature, I’m a pretty, glass-half-full person, so I don’t have many “downtime” days. However, I have a lot of totally ‘overwhelmed’ days!
But you have to work to “reduce the noise” in order to stay in a good mental space.
The isolation of remote work and constant video calls is getting very old. I miss the trips and face-to-face meetings, which don’t come back as quickly as I would like.
It’s a miserable cycle you find yourself in and sometimes the work just brings back a lot of pain, but other times it makes things better and helps ease your mental anxiety.
Diet, exercise and cold showers do a lot
And then we turned to the question of their teams, and readers told us:
49% – We have good and bad days, and more good than bad.
24% – Everything is fine.
20% – Fairly good.
5% – Things go wrong…
2% – We have good and bad days, but more bad than good.
I don’t know if it’s because the staff is growing, pandemic, internal conflicts what…
Most of our team manages very well. I believe there is a combination of reasons why we are all doing well: we are a small group (11 people); good internal communication and culture; we work in a less densely populated area of the country, so there seems to be more opportunity for tension-free social events; everyone on the team has a balance between autonomy and responsibility that creates healthy interactions.
I don’t know we don’t talk about it
You can’t average health! It’s individual. Just because a team member is healthy, it is not possible for that person to nullify the health level of other team members. Although duct tape can fix almost anything, it can’t fix crazy people, but at least it can muffle the sound.
But… I really wonder if the whole team would answer that question the same way. We use Tinypulse to keep an eye on the status of things with our team. I will ask this question in February.
I would choose an “I don’t know”. We are all working from home now, all the time, and our voice or in-person interactions are very infrequent – less than once every 2 months. Hard to know how people are doing without this connection.
I’m definitely starting to see a change…about 6 months ago I would have responded more badly than good. I hope we are doing better and making sure our team has the support they need on a daily basis!
Varies from person to person, of course. Interestingly, recent market and economic turmoil has made our employees feel more needed and more important in what they do for their customers. And I’d like to believe that seeing stable, pragmatic, unworried leadership instills a sense of calm and stability.
Team members are visibly stretched and sometimes stressed. We are all working harder than ever because our customers need us in different ways. aiming to work smarter not harder as a goal.
Difficult to say for sure, because we try not to give the “bad days” to others.
I really don’t know if people seem to keep their pain and depression to themselves and there isn’t much management doing about it.
We then asked readers to choose three “pain points” they would like their organization to address. Here they are, listed:
46% – Lack of recognition and understanding of the impact of pandemic trauma and stress on mental health
46% – A fear of judgment from others at work for sharing about mental health or mental illness
43% – A culture of “dismissing” the importance of prioritizing mental health
31% – A lack of understanding of mental health and mental illness
28% – Family or relationship stress people bring to work
24% – A culture of “wellness shame”: when staff are “blamed” for trying to draw time boundaries between work and personal life
20% – Lack of buy-in or role modeling from senior company management around workplace mental health initiatives
9% – The expectation that financial advisors should always “stay the course” for their clients
Objective of the workshop
As for the focus, readers say they would love to be covered at the NAPA 401(k) summit workshop:
63% – Understand the influence of the pandemic, social division, grief and loss on mental health in the workplace
56% – How to create a culture of acceptance and understanding around mental illness in the workplace
52% – The Do’s and Don’ts of Mental Health Conversations at Work: Tips for “In the Moment”
50% – Understand the emotional and neurological impact of chronic pandemic stress and trauma on mental health
28% – How and why to assess whether you are really ready to talk about your own mental health at work
One reader commented:This is a great topic to cover because some people are really hurting and working from home and have no outlets. I appreciate it personally and hope that we as a community will continue to appreciate topics like this being discussed. Thank you Napa.
Yet another said:I look forward to attending this session. Couldn’t have said it better…
See you at the 2022 NAPA 401(k) Summit, April 3-5. https://napasummit.org