During these unprecedented times there is a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the coronavirus. The unknown of how we may each be impacted, added to the stressors of work, children at home, and social distancing, can be difficult. This is especially true for those with mental health conditions.
Individuals with depression and mood disorders may struggle with the social isolation that accompanies staying home. Those with phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may have increased symptoms related to germs and/or the fear of contracting the virus. This may impact the ability to cope at home and work.
The sudden change in routine and need to quickly adapt might contribute to issues with concentration, memory, increased fatigue, and irritability. Feelings of loneliness, apprehension, and frustration may continue for the foreseeable future. It can be helpful to recognize and acknowledge how this pandemic is affecting us personally and professionally. Employers are rapidly working on plans and ways to keep their employees safe while managing their own stress. We have seen emergency plans and remote work being implemented to assist those with suppressed immune systems, respiratory issues, and other factors that may put employees at a higher risk. It is important to remember that there may be a need to provide additional accommodations related to mental health concerns.
Temporary accommodations to help all employees who are feeling increased stress and facing personal difficulties at this time may be appropriate. Recognizing that we are all human by showing flexibility and patience can go a long way during this outbreak.
Check in with yourself regarding your physical and mental health daily. Email, call, or video chat with friends, family, and coworkers. A simple hello can help us all feel connected. Go outdoors and breathe fresh air. Schedule a time to sit on your porch and talk to your neighbor across the street as they sit on theirs. Knowing that we are all here to support one another can help with our overall cognitive function and productivity.
For information on the coronavirus and the ADA see:
For information on some common accommodations related to mental health and other articles on the topic of stress see: