University of Michigan Depression Center to host virtual conference on workplace mental health

The virtual conference will discuss strategies for helping workers with mental health as they transition back to their workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pixlr)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – As companies and organizations transition employees back to their workplaces, supporting employee mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic is an area of growing interest. 

To help industry leaders and employers navigate employee mental health in the workplace, the University of Michigan Depression Center will host a virtual conference on Aug. 19.

Researchers, clinicians and industry experts will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on employee mental health and provide real-world strategies for supporting employees.

Dr. Sagar Parikh, associate director for the U-M Depression Center, said that rates of depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse have “soared” due to pandemic related stressors, including financial difficulties, isolation, and grief over the losses of loved ones or opportunities. 

“All of these losses and stresses have contributed to a skyrocketing of depression, anxiety, grief, stress and drinking. So we need to act more now because the magnitude of the mental health crisis is much higher right now,” said Parikh.  

Participants at the Depression Center’s conference will receive tips on creating healthy workplace environments and how to support struggling employees.

The event will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. via Zoom and costs $50. Registered participants will receive a link to the Zoom conference a week before the event. 

See the conference schedule or register on Eventbrite here.

Parikh said that its important to go where the problem is and as many people spend their days (or nights) at work, bringing mental health solutions into workplaces “makes sense.”

✉  Like what you’re reading? Sign up for our email newsletter here!

Having recently co-edited a book delving into workplace mental health and workplace interventions to support employees, Parikh said that the conference is also a way to create a dialogue between what is researched in academia and the business world. He added that while some companies are able to handle lighter mental health problems, they aren’t equipped to deal with more serious aspects that employees may be dealing with. 

By presenting business professionals with strategies and solutions, they are better able to handle employee mental health, which can have economic impacts, including workplace productivity, absenteeism and healthcare costs.

For remote workers, Parikh said that they may be experiencing even more stresses or be unable to attend in-person services. Workplace assistance may help those employees access the services and strategies they need.

In addition to the conference, the U-M Depression Center also offers a program to help businesses support the mental health of their employees. The program helps companies identify problems and creates a treatment plan for companies to implement. 

Learn more about the Depression Center and its services here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.