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Help your workers succeed during difficult times.

You can help decrease mental health stigma during these stressful times. As an employer, you can reduce stress for you and your workers with help from us.

Know the signs of stress, depression, burnout, and anxiety.

Don’t assume you know how your employees might feel. Talk with them. Ask them how they are doing. If talking one on one with employees is difficult, send an email offering mental health resources like 211.

Many of the symptoms of stress, depression, burnout, and anxiety are similar. Encourage employees to seek help like an employee assistance program when they feel the symptoms, which include:

  • Change in sleep patterns.
  • Sensitivity to criticism or rejection.
  • Cynicism or being critical.
  • A lack of energy getting to or difficulty starting work.
  • Sadness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • A lack of work satisfaction.
  • Feeling disillusioned.
  • Use of food, drugs or alcohol to feel better.
  • Headaches, muscle pain, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints.
  • Persistent worrying.
  • Inability to relax.
  • Feeling on edge.

Some common causes of stress, depression, burnout, and anxiety.

We are in uncertain times, and people respond differently. Take the time to familiarize yourself with some common causes of behavioral health problems:

  • Depression: Topics like  politics, protests, inequality, not knowing how long COVID-19 will last can influence daily behaviors and cause negative health
  • Anxiety and worry: Causes may be economic difficulties, potential to get sick, or for others to get sick.
  • Grief: People are experiencing loss of activities, social gatherings, and other aspects of pre-COVID-19 life.
  • Isolation: Long-term separation and loss of personal contact with family and friends can have lasting negative consequences

Help workers deal with depression and anxiety during COVID-19.

Communication can help you keep workers happy and healthy. Talk to your staff to show your support. Be mindful of policies regarding private health information. Focus on conversations that center on work but show you care. Be present. Be a good listener. Be reassuring. Ask employees:

  • How their lives changed.
  • What tools they might need to be successful.
  • How they can support one another at times of distress. Be a role model. Take breaks when tired or easily agitated.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Practice and commit to a healthy work environment.

Encourage employees to seek help early, and encourage them often. Encourage them not to hesitate to use resources if they need them.

  • Point them to your company’s employee assistance program, if you have one.
  • Call the Pierce County Crisis Line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (800) 576-7764. 
  • Crisis Text Line: Send a text to 741741 (mobile fees waived). 
  • Washington Listens support line (833) 681-0211, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday–Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekends. TTY and language access services are available. 
  • Other mental health resources, call 211
  • LGBTQ Trevor Project Support Center: (866) 488-7386. 

Find additional resources in our “Feeling remote school stress? We can help” blog.

Remote workers need help, too.

Remote work can be a mutually beneficial arrangement for you and your employees.

Ensure your employees have everything they need to be successful:

  • Appropriate technology.
  • Flexible work schedules.
  • Frequent connections to work. Remote workers want to feel a part of the team and connected.
  • Talk with remote workers frequently. If possible, have a meeting outdoors where people can maintain physical distance but still  connect with one another. 
  • Normalize the challenges of working virtually. Continue to communicate that it takes time to adjust to new changes.
    • Eliminate the guesswork, which can lead to awkward virtual workplace challenges. Create clear protocols and guidelines for running an online meeting and video conference calls.

Support workers who support others.

If you can, offer flexible schedules to your workers. Make sure your workers know your company’s sick leave policies. Provide options for your workers if they need time to care for family members, including if they get sick.

If an employee discloses a mental health concern, assure the employee you will notify your human resources. Work together on a plan. Express your gratitude, support, and appreciation for the employee.

Help those with less work.

Some employees have reduced work hours because of COVID-19 closures. This can cause financial and mental stress.  Encourage employees to use local resources, such as the state Employment Security Department, 211, or WA Listens at (833) 681-0211, for support. Learn if you are eligible for state and federal help. Assistance is available for many workers ineligible for regular unemployment through the state Employment Security Department.

For more resources, see our Information for Businesses page.

Don’t wait until small problems become big problems. Know the mental health warning signs and get help as early as possible.

For more information, visit our Behavioral Health website. Learn more about COVID 19 at

A family walks along an otherwise empty beach. A marina is in the distance. Beyond that is Mount Rainier.