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Beyond employee mental health sessions, EAPs have evolved to provide a wide range of support services to tackle major stressors head on. (Photo: Shutterstock)

If media headlines for the past three months are any indicator, “unprecedented” may go on to the become Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year. “Uncertain and times” will probably be in the running for second.

With so much focus on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic with no specific cure or end in sight, it can be easy to overlook the growing mental health challenges lurking in the background of this crisis. According to a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45 percent of adults say the pandemic has affected their mental health, with 19 percent indicating it has had a “major impact.” Fear is rampant, anxiety levels are rising, and feelings of loneliness and depression are concerning for those with and without a history of mental health issues. Substance abuse and addiction are always an issue in times of crisis. The inability to gather in mourning makes coping with grief and loss especially challenging. And major economic instability is causing emotional and financial distress.

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