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A Clevelander offers a bracing observation in a New York Times piece that looks at the “emotional and mental scars” from the pandemic that some people are bringing to work, particularly as companies bring employees back to the office.

In a Q&A, Emma Goldberg, who covers the future of work for the Times, says this about how people are feeling about work and mental health:

The past two years have been challenging for so many different reasons — people have lost loved ones, fallen sick, had economic hardships. Many people are struggling with mental health challenges, and mental health care is difficult to obtain and afford in the U.S. So in a lot of cases, workers and workplaces are having to fill in the gaps. Workers are figuring out how they can share personal challenges with colleagues and managers, and some managers say they feel like they’re acting as therapists even if they don’t have training to do so.

She notes that some companies “have expanded the mental health care services on offer. Others are making long-term commitments to flexibility and ensuring people have the support they need to balance their personal and their professional obligations. … And I spoke to other companies that are training managers to understand how to check in and support workers in dealing with personal challenges.

The Times asked readers how their mental health had changed over the course of the pandemic. Clevelander Beatriz Bishop has a wrenching story: “Before March 19, 2020, I was fine. My dad, a hospital pathologist, was diagnosed with Covid that day. He was ventilated and died on April 6. I did not get to see him — he died alone — and I have felt intense, indescribable pain ever since. Traumatized and devastated are two words to describe my state. I am a completely different person now. I have been in grief counseling for two years and I have found solace in supporting my students (I teach high school) as we navigate this pandemic.”

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