What was mental health like in 2022? Lots of big changes and strong feelings

A fading pandemic. War in Ukraine. Fear of the future. Conflicts at work over nationality. Different views. Price increases and record energy prices. Difficult conversations about perceived or actual layoffs. Again this year, managers have not been spared at all. Join us for a reminder of the major events that have impacted the mental health of the whole society and download support materials with tips on how to take care of employees' mental wellbeing.

January: exhale after the pandemic

After the pandemic subsided, Soulmio decided to further support employees in relieving stress and anxiety. That's why we launched the Relax Zone as a part of the yearly program for our clients. Relax Zone contains short and guided mindfulness and relaxation exercises suitable for a corporate environment.

"The market is full of meditation apps. But only Soulmio Relax Zone offers audio exercises conducted in Czech (and English), in addition to being distributed and supported by the employer," commented Janina Dvorakova, who is responsible for product and marketing at Soulmio.

February and March: war in Ukraine, uncertainty, fear, disputes, and belonging

"With the beginning of the war in Ukraine, in the first half of 2022 we registered fears among our employees about the further development of the conflict," Libuse Kocanova, Chief Operating and Personnel Officer of Albatros Media, comments on the challenging period at the beginning of the year.

In a critical period, we managed to get Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian-speaking therapists to work with us in the online counseling. The consultations were provided mainly to foreign employees of our Czech and international clients. We also immediately expanded Mental Wellness - the preventive part of the Soulmio corporate program - with a special content. It included recommendations from psychologists to employees on dealing with challenging situations at work and home.

Employers have also tried to calm the situation. "We have been in contact with the affected employees on a daily basis. We offered them external psychological help, as well as financial and legal support," recalls the trying time Petra Novotna, People Experience Manager at ROI Hunter, .

The webinars and live streams that we put together right away with the help of experts in crisis response are still the most watched of the year. Soulmio psychologists and psychotherapists helped individuals cope with unexpected and emotionally challenging situations. Managers and HR answered questions on how to stabilize and defuse hostile and conflicting atmospheres in the workplace. We also commented on the situation in a podcast with CzechCrunch and Productboard (in Czech). 

May: Mental Health Awareness Month

We have joined the worldwide observance of Mental Health Awareness Month. Especially for our international and English-speaking clients, we created content covering the essential components of workplace wellness: from the individual and the team to the organizational perspective and the role of managers as guardians of team wellness. 

The series also included activating exercises and reflections, guided calming and mindfulness techniques, recorded lectures with psychologists, a live webcast on Burnout prevention, or the opportunity to discuss the topic individually with Soulmio Counseling therapists.

Second half of the year: lots of concerns about price increases

"In the second half of the year, we saw more concerns about rising energy prices, general price increases and inflation. Now the fear of possible layoffs is beginning to manifest itself," says Libuse Kocanova from Albatros Media about the mood in the workplace and outlines the current topics of employee mental health care.

Jiri Burian, Group Manager L&D at BENU, confirms the concerns about work reflected in work performance. "In 2022, work-life balance resonated the most among our employees. In other words, the fear of not being able to handle all the work that is thrown at me. People's fear of a potential financial or work crisis translated into pressure on their performance and efficiency."

Most requested mental health topics 2022

We aired nearly 100 webinars for clients in 2022. The topics of the top five follow the aforementioned trend: being able to cope with challenging times, taking care of your mental and physical health preventively and having confidence in your abilities.

  • Mental resilience
  • Psychohygiene in times of crisis
  • Stress in motion: How to effectively relieve stress and strain through movement
  • Non-violent communication
  • Imposter syndrome: How to overcome inner insecurity

October and November: A little better

Even in moments of great social events, we live our own lives with all the joys and worries that go with it. In those moments, it can help to do just a little something to help us feel a little better. Two events this autumn were in the spirit of this slogan: the Soulmio Mental Wellness Days: an online conference for the public and clients; and a keynote at the HR Days fair on barriers to mental health care at work.

And what about 2023? Remember the terms: resilience, psychological safety and VUCA world

What are the challenges and themes for employee mental health care in the coming year? According to Libuse Kocanova from Albatros Media, key topics will include stress resilience, the ability to accept new solutions, adaptation to change, willingness to learn new things, open communication, teamwork and friendly behavior, or the ability to find common solutions.

Jiri Burian from BENU names the following as essential skills: building confidence in coping with all changes and challenges and living in a VUCA world.

Petra Novotna from ROI Hunter considers self-confidence (self-awareness) as an essential competence: the ability to understand one's own needs, recognize personal values, and ability to cope with emotions.

At Soulmio, we would add psychological safety as a key competence: Psychological safety at work includes, but is not limited to, being able to speak your mind openly, having a space to make a mistake and not being afraid of ridicule or being undermined.

We wish all employees they would work in an environment of trust, understanding, support and good relationships. We wish managers and team leaders to find the strength and the desire to create such an environment while taking care of their own psychological well-being.