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It may surprise some employers to know that when employees experience racism and/or other forms of discrimination and oppression, one of the places they can turn for help is their Employee Assistance Program or EAP. While EAPs are thought of more often for use by employees for short-term counseling and referrals to help employees manage personal problems so that they don’t interfere with work performance and productivity, it is important to remember that EAPs also provide workplaces with services including organizational assessment, management consultation and strategic crisis prevention and response. It is precisely because of this mix of individual and organizational level of services that EAPs are in a unique position to help employees work through the trauma of racism and to provide workplace leaders with an invaluable insider view of complex workplace problems, including racism.

On May 11, 2020, the National Behavioral Consortium (NBC) hosted a presentation by Dr. Steven Taylor, based on his book, The Psychology of Pandemics. This book and Dr. Taylor’s presentation explores the psychological factors that influence the spread of pandemic infections, as well as the associated emotional distress and social disruption of such events. It reveals how psychological factors are important for understanding and managing societal problems associated with pandemics, such as the spreading of excessive fear, stigmatization, and xenophobia that occur when people are threatened with infection. Dr. Taylor’s presentation (and book) offers a comprehensive analysis of the psychology of pandemics, and describes the psychological reactions to pandemics, including maladaptive behaviors, emotions, and defensive reactions. He also discussed psychological vulnerabilities that contribute to the spreading of disease and distress and empirically supported methods for addressing these problems.

Employers are the largest purchaser of health care services, yet there is minimal research on employer use of digital solutions. This report summarizes qualitative research on the use of digital tools for mental health (MH). Interviews were conducted in the Summer of 2019 with 10 large employers who represent over 1M employees, and 22 mental health vendors. This report describes: the mental health crisis, the impact on the workplace, the rise of digital tools for mental health, the question, “Does digital work?”. It also reports research findings from the perspectives of employers and vendors. The report concludes with key findings about mental health  and digital health in the workplace and best practices for employer purchasers.

Isolating and working from home because of the pandemic, everyone has heard the jokes about alcohol. A Facebook favorite: Home schooling going well. Two students suspended for fighting. One teacher fired for drinking on the job. The United States has a temperate drinking culture, and the joke perfectly captures Americans’ ambivalence about alcohol. Drink moderately and alcohol can be a pleasant experience, an accompaniment to a meal, stress reducer and party enhancer; drink too much and unpleasant consequences can result, particularly interfering with the performance of critical social roles such as parenting, family, friends and work. In this context, employers are worried about what employees are doing while working from home. Are they all sitting at their computers with a glass of wine or coffee? This article includes helpful facts to guide employers and assist employees working from home.

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