I had a picture come up on my timeline just the other day and it showed the last event I went to before the COVID-19 shutdown. I got to be with friends and peers at the Healthy KC event held at Sporting KC Park. At that event, we discussed the importance and the growing epidemic of mental health in the USA. I didn't know it then, but this emotional tsunami would soon hit epic proportions in less than a year. Just to give you a frame of reference, last year just through mid-2020 reported symptoms of anxiety have tripled and depression symptoms have almost quadrupled in 6 months along with over 3/4 of 18-24 year olds reported having at least 1 mental or behavioral health problem.

Right now the overwhelming request and efforts put towards culture and the wellbeing of organizations has been focusing around mental wellbeing. It makes sense after seeing those stats from last year. Can we be real for a second? We're all feeling it too. I haven't heard of many people who have said "COVID-19 was actually the best thing for my mental health!" and if you're one of those people - I salute you, because these conditions are brutal. Something I read sums up where most people are at, after 1 year:

"You're not imagining it, nobody seems to want to talk right now. Message are brief and replies late. Talk of catch ups on zoom are perpetually put on hold. Group chats are no longer pinging all night long.

It's not you. It's everyone.

We are spent. We have nothing left to say.

We are tired of saying 'I miss you' and 'I can't wait for this to end'.

So we mostly say nothing, put our heads down and get through each day.

You're not imagining it. This is a state of being like no other we have ever known because we are all going through it together but so very far apart.

Hang in there my friend. When the mood strikes, send out all those messages and don't feel you have to apologize for being quiet.

This is hard. No one is judging."

I'm guessing after reading all of that you are either shaking your head in agreement, taking an overdue look at where you're at currently, or possibly doing like I did and just sit quietly because it hit closer to home than I realized. However you're looking at this, just know we can get through this. It won't be pretty. It won't be easy. And you can bet it will take everything we got but here's the upside: You are in this time because you provide something to the world it needs. Your passion, your talents, knowledge, time, resources...you have so much to offer, and you were made for a time just like this.

If your organization wants to talk about what you can be doing for your employees, don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to help and will continue to be. We got your back. We're in this together!