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Episode details

A new survey shows that with the ongoing pandemic and complexities caused by school closures this fall, employers are expecting a rise in mental health challenges for their employees. In this episode, two world-renowned mental health experts from Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital, Dr. Kerry Ressler and Dr. Lisa Coyne, join Unum’s employee benefits and well-being strategy expert, Robert Hecker, to discuss the survey’s findings and how employers can support their employees. 

  • Employers are expecting a big rise in mental health issues. 85% of employers surveyed are very or somewhat concerned about their employees’ mental health or wellness needs. (02:21)
  • The stress people are experiencing is not new. However, the pandemic and other environmental factors have made these issues more acute, and employees are exhibiting higher levels of stress. The challenge is figuring out the right action to take to support employees in a meaningful way. (03:28)
  • Employers can encourage healthy behaviors and preventive measures that will help keep most people healthy and resilient. Additionally, employers should watch for behaviors and symptoms that suggest professional help is needed. (05:39)
  • Parents with children who are different ages or have behavioral health issues will be likely to experience even more draining demands. All parents with children will be at risk of burnout. (09:30)
  • Employers should help parents be aware of resources for their or their kids’ mental health and consider offering flexible work schedules. (10:23)

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Kerry Ressler

M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, McLean Hospital and Professor, Harvard Medical School

Kerry J. Ressler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Chief Scientific Officer at McLean Hospital, a world-renowned psychiatric hospital in Boston, and a professor at Harvard Medical School. His work focuses on translational research bridging molecular neurobiology in animal models with human genetic and epigenetic research on emotion, particularly fear and anxiety disorders. He has published over 300 manuscripts ranging from genetic basic molecular mechanisms of fear processing to understanding how emotion is encoded in the brain across animal models and human patients.

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Lisa Coyne

Ph.D, Founder and Senior Clinical Consultant of the OCD Institute for Children and Adolescents, McLean Hospital, and Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

Lisa Coyne, Ph.D., is the founder and Senior Clinical Consultant of the McLean OCD Institute for Children and Adolescents at McLean Hospital, and is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She is the founder and Executive Director of the New England Center for OCD and Anxiety (NECOA) and was elected president of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS). Dr. Coyne is a member of the Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board and is on the faculty of the Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). She is also a licensed psychologist and a peer-reviewed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) trainer. Dr. Coyne is the author of multiple articles and chapters on ACT with children and adolescents, and is a co-author of the books Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Clinician’s Guide for Supporting Parents (Elsevier), and The Joy of Parenting (New Harbinger). Her new books, Stuff That’s Loud: A Teen’s Guide to Unspiralling When OCD Gets Noisy (New Harbinger & Little Brown) and Stop Avoiding Stuff: 25 Microskills to Face Your Fears and Do It Anyway, were published in 2020.
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Rob Hecker

Vice President, Global Total Rewards, Unum

Rob Hecker is currently the Vice President of Global Total Rewards, responsible for Unum’s health, medical and retirement plans, well-being strategies and compensation and rewards programs. Prior to moving into his current role, Rob was the Vice President of National Client Group Services, responsible for developing client service delivery strategies for Unum’s 2000+ employees customer segment. His areas of responsibility included client management strategy, new customer implementation, premium collections, contract services and administrative management services. Rob’s previous business experience includes Vice President of Unum’s Leave Management Center, Vice President Voluntary Claims Operations and Vice President LTD Benefits. Prior to joining Unum, Rob was employed by Holiday Inn Corporations as a labor relations specialist and Director of Human Resources. An active community leader, Rob has served on the boards of the Unum Charitable Foundation, The Chattanooga Y-ME Breast Cancer organization, Chattanooga Humane Educational Society and Unum’s United Way leadership council.

About the host

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Clare Morin

Unum Content Marketing Manager

Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who’s spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.

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