Credit: Celia/

A silver lining of the pandemic is that it pushed discussions about mental health out of the realm of taboo and into the spotlight. And while openly discussing — and creating a space for others to discuss — mental health concerns is important, leaders need to take a more holistic approach to investing in employees’ mental wellbeing. For many, this will include reexamining their workplace policies, benefits packages and other perks that aim to help improve mental health in and outside of the workplace.

It’s now abundantly clear that mental illness is a “silent epidemic” that has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Studies abound quantify the toll the pandemic has taken on everyone, from frontline workers and health care professionals to parents, children and young adults. And because small businesses were more likely to furlough workers or go out of business entirely, the pandemic has been particularly stressful for their employees.

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