On January 31, 2020, Alex Azar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, declared the growing outbreak of the Coronavirus a public health emergency. In that moment the world was irreversibly changed, and COVID-19 was poised to have a lasting global impact on individuals, families, workplaces, and communities. Without warning, and despite our collective longing to return to familiar routines, we found ourselves taking the first steps of an unfamiliar journey that would result in the permanent transformation of almost everything previously deemed “normal”.

While human nature compels us to pursue comfort and seek refuge from the storms of life in the safety of the familiar, we have been collectively forced to navigate in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and disrupted world. To this day, the post pandemic “new normal” remains pervasively volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. By their very nature, political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors, cause individuals to experience stress, anxiety, or fear.

Extended periods of stress can lead individuals to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance misuse, overeating, or other addictive behaviors. The result can have profound and lasting effects on the physical, mental, and behavioral health of individuals, which naturally affects the workplace. This is particularly problematic when the health care system cannot provide the services needed to help those affected.

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