Health and fitness

Breaking down barriers to mental wellbeing for your most vulnerable employees

By the team of mental health professionals at Koa Health | March 6, 2023

The crisis of COVID-19 highlighted the value, role and contribution of some of our most valuable employees: frontline and onsite workers. While many had the opportunity to work from home or go partially remote to mitigate the ramifications of the pandemic, for others, it was on-site all the time as usual. Healthcare workers, factory and plant personnel, and manufacturing, construction and transportation staff, to name a few, dealt with the brunt of working in-person and with the public throughout the pandemic, at times with great consequence.

And to do what had to be done, these greatly-needed employees put their mental and physical health at risk, with frontline and onsite workers reporting dangerously high levels  of stress, anxiety and depression as a result. In the healthcare sector, nurses  reported pervasive anxiety and stress regarding their wellbeing and mental health, as well as concern for the wellbeing and mental health of others in their daily duties. Similarly, but not nearly as widely discussed, non-health essential workers  such as factory and grocery staff dealt with the strain of dealing with production expectations and safety mandate requirements (and an overly stressed public) during the pandemic. The pandemic underlined the importance and necessity of supporting essential onsite workers’ wellbeing.

Frontline and physical labor employees experience elevated levels of workplace stress that meet or surpass those of office workers, stemming from financial insecurity, lack of agency in their daily work routines, changing mandates, safety concerns and difficulties accessing care.

High levels of stress among workers with limited access to mental health care can lead to chronic and long-term mental illness and even death. For example, high levels of stigma and other barriers to mental health among construction workers  can be linked to suicide rates at 3 times the national average and 5 times the rate of onsite fatalities.

The harsh truth that needs to be addressed, and the sooner, the better, is that employees working “in the field” need additional support to be engaged, feel supported and stay safe on the job. And because of pervasive stigma and hard-to-overcome barriers to in-person care, they need resources that are easily accessible and inclusive to help them manage their mental wellbeing, build resilience and tackle the inherent stressors of physically and mentally demanding work. Additionally, frontline and onsite workers need unwavering support from their employers, as well as regular reminders that it’s okay to not be okay and that seeking mental health care when needed is both expected and encouraged.

We've got just the right strategies to help you combat mental health stigma and build an inclusive organization with a focus on mental wellbeing, especially for those employees who may need extra support. Let's work together to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and cared for.

Find out:

  • How to reduce physical and financial risks by supporting mental wellness at work
  • Who on your crew might be part of the “underserved middle” and how to help them
  • How employees expect their mental health to be supported and what employers can do to deliver

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  • Online self-serve tools (e.g., mood trackers, journaling, emotional health assessments and more)
  • Evidence-based learning packs
  • Unlimited text-based coaching with licensed mental health professionals for one month

Get your free 1-month trial* on ThoughtFullChat here

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