June 17, 2021

Webinar Recording on Pandemic Stress, Mental Health Now Available

The recording of an April webinar focused on the effects of pandemic stress on mental health is now available from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Training Program (WTP) website. The webinar is part of a series of presentations conducted by WTP on technical topics related to COVID-19 and worker protection. Titled “The Paindemic: The Intersection Between the COVID-19 Pandemic and Deaths of Despair,” the webinar was held on April 8. Presenters describe increased stress related to pandemic conditions and its effects on mental health as key factors driving an increase in alcohol consumption, opioid overdoses and fatalities, and suicides. According to the presenters, common mental health effects include anxiety, depression, and increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The webinar recording addresses common stressors for all workers—concerns such as becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, infecting family members, loss of pay, and violence by customers refusing to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols—as well as stressors among minority and low-wage workers, including lack of access to healthcare, food and housing insecurity, and discrimination. Presenters discuss peer assistance programs, training, and increased access to mental health and substance use care in the workplace as interventions that can help improve workers’ mental health.

AIHA Fellow Jonathan Rosen serves as the webinar’s moderator. He is joined by presenters from NIOSH, including Associate Director for Total Worker Health L. Casey Chosewood and Jamie C. Osborne, a public health analyst with the agency’s Office for Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, as well as Fisk University’s Art Lee and Mike Hazard of the United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, and Service Techs.

Individuals interested in viewing the webinar recording can find the video embedded under the heading “Technical Topics Related to COVID-19” on WTP’s COVID-19 webinars page. Previous webinars in the series on topics such as preventing occupational exposure to COVID-19 in non-hospital healthcare settings and the role of vaccination in workplace COVID-19 prevention are also available for viewing.