Over the last decade, employee mental health has been an increasing topic of interest for businesses around the country. The recent impacts of COVID-19 have only continued to show us the importance for companies to offer programs to help employees mentally cope with different situations both at work and in life. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Iowa, 1 in 5 adults, or roughly 600,000 Iowans, live with some form of mental illness.

It is vital now, more than ever, that companies are able to adjust programs and policies to ensure employees’ emotional and mental health are being maintained. During this time of uncertainty, it is the employer’s responsibility to maintain as much stability as possible for employees. That is why Bank of America is continuing our commitment to our employees’ mental health by announcing there will be no layoffs in 2020, offering backup child care and adult day care services, no-cost coronavirus testing, and many other programs to help ensure employees are taken care of.

Recognizing and investing in the connection between personal well-being and professional excellence is good for every company and employee. As such, Bank of America recently participated in the presentation of the "Mental Health: Mind Matters" exhibit at the Iowa Science Center in Des Moines. The hands-on exhibit aims to a build better understanding of the importance of mental health by leading visitors through vivid audiovisual sensory experiences to foster better understanding of the facts, feelings and issues surrounding this significant topic.

Even before COVID-19, businesses around the nation were changing the way they approach employee wellness. In light of the pandemic, companies continue to roll out initiatives more focused on mental health, and are now more aware of work and personal stressors that wear on an employee’s health. At Bank of America, our approach to promoting mental well-being is treating it as a holistic investment in our people and offering employees a wide range of wellness programs that best suit their needs. To date, more than 85,000 employees have used the support of Life Event Services during critical moments, and in response to COVID-19, this service is providing expanded support for employees who may have been exposed to coronavirus or need assistance.

When companies support their employees’ physical and emotional wellness, they create a valuable work environment. Employee wellness programs can also be attractive to potential candidates and help a company stand out during times of low unemployment. These programs can also help overall employee turnover drop by ensuring employees are supported physically and emotionally.

It’s important that businesses continue to adjust to changing markets, industries and global events. Business owners should look at holistic employee wellness programs as an opportunity to rejuvenate their employees and build a sustaining workforce that endures through all of life’s ups and downs.