Virtual Event Discusses Mental Health as Businesses Reopen

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Whether it’s with enthusiasm or trepidation, returning to the workplace after a long shutdown means employees and employers will need to address emotional and behavioral issues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mahoning County Mental Health & Recovery Board will host a live virtual event, “Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the New Normal,” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 20. Registration is available here. In addition to discussion from a panel of experts, the live event will also feature a question and answer session.

Participating experts are Carolyn Givens, vice president for Neil Kennedy Recovery Centers; Joseph Shorokey, CEO of Alta Behavioral Healthcare; Larry Moliterno, president and CEO of Meridian Healthcare; and Joseph Caruso, president and CEO of Compass Family and Community Services.

Experts will discuss what both employers and employees need to know about mental health and addiction issues as businesses reopen after shutting down due to the coronavirus.

Webinar topics include recognizing signs and symptoms, addressing stigma associated with mental health and addiction, identifying resources, support and services followed by question and answers.

“When states reopen, the virus and fears about the virus will not be gone. The reality is COVID has impacted everyone in some way,” Caruso says. “The new normal is there is going to be fear until there is a vaccine. People have been in isolation and are now coming out. The fear of people interacting is real and present.”

The pandemic has also caused trauma for people who weren’t able to be with a loved one who may have died, have a family member who is sick and they are unable to visit, or have a family member or friend who is in danger as a frontline worker, Caruso says.

“People are grieving and it’s traumatic. Oftentimes this isn’t addressed in the workplace because it’s viewed as a private issue, but in reality, it affects work performance,” he says. “All of a sudden a productive employee loses their way and people don’t recognize what to do with that.” 

Caruso adds that healthy employees mean healthy businesses and healthy businesses mean healthy communities.

Duane Piccirilli, director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board, supports the efforts of the partner agencies because May is mental health awareness month. 

“This live virtual event could not have come at a better time. It will give people the opportunity to interact directly with behavioral health providers on how they can meet the many challenges of COVID-19 and how to better develop coping techniques,” Piccirilli says.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.