Addressing the Issue of Mental Health

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Anxiety. Depression. Stress. Burnout. PTSD.

All of these and more encompass mental health considerations because they impact how a person thinks, feels, behaves, makes choices and relates to others.

In a candid look at today’s mental health issues, triggered by living one year in an unprecedented pandemic, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association are each taking a lead role in helping the boating industry recognize and adopt ways to deal with this often-unsung reality.

Anxiety is the most common mental health concern in America today, especially thanks to Covid. Is my livelihood secure? Will my wife still be able to work? Can my kids go to school? Can I visit my aging parents? Should I shop in a crowded grocery store? These and many more concerns easily make us anxious. That can directly affect our performance and our relationships with fellow workers and customers. We need to adopt ways to deal with it.

The industry effort to call attention to mental health started when MMTA executive director Randall Lyons penned a revealing article in the organization’s member e-news. He included an honest sharing of some related personal struggles. His headline says it all: “Mental Health Is not a Destination but a Process — It’s About How You Drive, not Where You’re Going.”

To take this a step further, Lyons has scheduled a webinar on the subject for all MMTA members April 8. Meanwhile, here’s what he reported to MMTA members.

At the same time Lyons was taking action, MRAA vice president Liz Walz was researching ways to help members who’d been voicing concerns about the need to proactively address the mental health of employees. Lyons and Walz connected, which led Walz to take a deeper dive into resources and actions all employers could take.

Yesterday, Walz sent to all MRAA members an outstanding blog, titled “Six Things You Can Do to Care for Your Team’s Mental Health.” In it, she reveals that she, like many others, has faced waves of anxiety and insomnia throughout the last year.

“There has never been a better, more important time to take action for ourselves, our team and our business,” Walz writes. “As a marine business owner or manager, you likely don’t have special skills or expertise when it comes to mental health. Neither do I. But the experts have some great insight into what you can do to care for your team and your business, and we’ve collected these to benefit everyone.”

MRAA is making Walz’s blog available to the entire industry. Moreover, MRAA also has a set of tips available to everyone, too. Click here to read Walz’s complete blog.

It’s safe to say that every one of us, in every segment of our industry, has been impacted in some way during the pandemic. Even the surge in retail boat sales we’ve been enjoying hasn’t negated the serious challenges for all, from boatbuilders to retailers. Looking at the best ways to deal with mental health considerations we all face daily should be a priority.


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