/ April 13, 2021

Thrive in Your Workplace: Helping employers manage uncertainty and promote workplace mental health

With years of experience as a clinical psychologist, when Dr. Nicole Andreoli saw the dire mental health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, she wanted to help. When Thrive in Your Workplace reached out to her to help lead a training for employers and employees affected by the pandemic, Dr. Andreoli didn’t hesitate to say yes.

New Yorkers spend a significant amount of their lives working and Thrive in Your Workplace is designed to help workplaces become on-ramps to mental health care, increasing access to support for one in five New Yorkers who experience mental illness every year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, embedding mental health support into workplaces has been as important as ever. In a national poll conducted earlier this year, 85% of workers reported being “worried and anxious they may lose their jobs” and 84% reported “really struggling” with employment-related matters.

To create a training that would address the urgent needs of workers during the pandemic, Dr. Andreoli began by looking at the effect of COVID-19 on employee mental health. That included the stress faced by essential employees who were on the frontlines, the anxiety of employees who were working remotely for the first time, and how to manage uncertainty during this unprecedented moment in time.

The goals of the training were twofold: Thrive in Your Workplace wanted to teach employees how to reduce stress as well as train employers on how to promote mental health in the workplace. To this aim, Dr. Andreoli presented actionable coping techniques like how to identify and manage negative thought patterns and how to practice mindfulness, as well as guidance on how organizations could create new opportunities for support through peer programs, manager trainings and expanded benefits.

“We looked at existing trainings, but what was missing was how to manage uncertainty,” said Rachael Steimnitz, Senior Manager, Program Implementation, Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC. “Dr. Andreoli did research, provided a whole host of resources, and helped us create a new curriculum that responded to the unprecedented realities many workers are facing during this pandemic.”

Now, that training is posted online for any employer looking for information on how to support employee mental health during the pandemic. The video has received hundreds of views. The key to Dr. Andreoli’s success, said Sophie Pauze, Director of Strategic Partnerships at ThriveNYC, is her ability to get through to people about a topic that is often stigmatized, and can feel complex or intimidating.

“Dr. Andreoli was just really eager to help,” said Ms. Pauze. “She has a lot of generosity of spirit.”

From Dr. Andreoli:
“It is so wonderful to be a part of someone’s therapeutic journey, and to have a glimpse into the most private parts of someone. It is such a rewarding experience to watch the therapeutic transformation and see someone walk away lighter and freer, or to see how they have grown as a result of sharpening their mental health skills, strengthening core values or engaging in self-discovery.”

Community mental health program: Thrive in Your Workplace

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Thrive in Your Workplace offered remote technical assistance and training to employers and employees to help them address mental health needs. This included the publication of the COVID-19 Mental Health Guide for Employers as well as ten new workplace mental health virtual trainings. Learn more about the program and its impact here.