The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 created a lot of uncertainty in our world and spurred another public health concern when it came to mental health.
Mental health encompasses our total well-being. It impacts how we feel, think and behave each day. Our mental health also contributes to our decision-making process, how we cope with stress, and how we relate to others in our lives. It's not always visible who's struggling with their mental health – they may be in your family, live next door, teach your children or work right beside you.
In early 2022, it was reported that depression and anxiety increased by 25% worldwide following the pandemic*. This means that mental health issues frequent our population and affect everything we do.
World Mental Health Day, established by the World Health Organization, is recognized annually across the globe on October 10 to raise awareness and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.
At Citi, we have adopted a holistic approach to wellbeing – that means providing colleagues with the resources they need to care for their whole selves. Mental health is a big part of that, which is why we offer multiple ways for employees to get the care they need, when they need it, in a way that feels comfortable for them.
In the U.S. and across the globe, robust mental health programs are in place for our colleagues. We have on-site counselors at many of our largest locations, digital access to therapists and the opportunity to select a counselor with specialized experience, such as working with LGBQT+ populations – making it easier for everyone to get support.
As many have struggled over the past two years because of the pandemic, we have further invested in ways to offer support. In the U.S., our Be Well program provides free and confidential mental health support, including more affordable telemedicine physiatry options for those who need additional help. We also offer a number of paid leave programs, which vary by country, that allow employees to take time away from work – whether to focus on education, family or simply to recharge.
We are listening to our employees' needs through surveys and other forums and addressing their concerns in a variety of ways. Our most popular medium is our "Ask Me Anything" sessions, where we create a safe space for mental health professionals to answer questions live and to bring our Citi community together on important mental health topics.
Citi wants to continue the conversation about mental health to help break the stigma often associated with it. This World Mental Health Day we are doing this by offering workshops for colleagues that focus on managing stress and building resilience, as well as giving managers tools to help them recognize and talk about sensitive issues. But we can't stop here, these efforts must go beyond just one day of the year; they must be sustainable and wide-reaching. Citi remains steadfast in creating even more opportunities to make mental health care a priority for all, today and every day.
*World Health Organization