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As the situation in Ukraine evolves, businesses should be mindful of potential risks to their people, assets, operations, or supply chains in the region and globally. Marsh, as part of the Marsh McLennan family of companies, has created a page with information, tools, and resources related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Please visit the page for the latest information.

April 21, 2022

It’s time to embrace family well-being

Carolyn Micali, Kate Valette

Prior to Coronavirus becoming a household name, the idea of work-life balance was a concept which was somewhat universally understood:  Aim to work a reasonable number of hours each week and have time available for life’s other offerings – socializing, maintaining a household, and raising a family – to hopefully contribute to a sense of fulfillment and in turn, maximize productivity at work. The pandemic however, forced the demands of work, school, and home life to blend. Workers were tasked with balancing job responsibilities with home schooling, children were expected to adapt to learning from a screen, and many households were trying to do it all under a single roof every day. Those living alone faced different challenges such as isolation and loneliness. The formerly distinct concepts of “work” and “life” very quickly emulsified into a single entity.

The effect of blending work and life on the mental health of Americans has become increasingly evident: Child and caregiver mental health and well-being has plummeted. Recent data from the Journal of the America Medical Association revealed that there has been a 27% increase in child anxiety and a 70% decrease in parental or caregiver mental health[1]. As organizations develop strategies for worker health, leaders must consider how to support the mental well-being of not only the employee but the entire family unit. By offering support programs for the whole family, employers can optimize health outcomes for the workforce, enhance business productivity, and attract and retain valued talent. Likewise, employees are re-examining their priorities and seeking employer benefits and resources that offer assistance for family care needs.

Some strategies to support the family include offering backup childcare vendors, access to behavioral health telemedicine (especially pediatric specialists), and training managers on how to identify signs and symptoms of mental health conditions. Organizations can also work to decrease the stigma around mental illness by encouraging employees to talk to their peers about stressors and challenges. These resources ease the burden on employee caregivers, allowing them to focus on their job responsibilities, reduce stress and anxiety, and contribute to better health and well-being. 

Marsh McLennan Agency offers several turnkey resources to assist in communicating about benefit offerings, reducing stigma, and creating a culture of good health within an organization. Our new Dimensions of Well-being Mental Health Playbook serves as a comprehensive guide for developing your company’s strategy for mental well-being. Be sure to visit our Mental Health Awareness page for these resources and more to assist you in developing your company approach to mental health.

1. JAMA Pediatrics. Five-Year Trends in Children’s Health and Well-being, 2016-2020. Published online March 14, 2022.