FEI’s Crisis Management customers comprise of private companies, educational institutions, and government institutions. We help our customers prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophic or overwhelming events.

In our 40-year history, FEI has responded to more than a hundred crisis events. Examples include 9/11, the crash of Egypt Air 990 into the Atlantic, terroristic events in France and Pakistan, and multiple natural disasters.

Last year FEI was called upon by a record number of customers requesting support due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted operations and affected employee groups and students.

To maintain our service and readiness commitments, FEI has pivoted from operating in an office environment to a virtual world. I have kidded with my staff about the irony that our once Business Continuity / Business Resumption plan, or BC/RC, that we put into action last year is now our “new normal.” A critical component of our BC/BR plan is operating in our office Crisis Center.

World events during the past 18 months have brought new focus to crisis management planning and preparation. As we all know, recovery from any type of crisis event is more than restoring electricity, plugging in a computer, or rebuilding a server room. Recovery requires healthy people to do the work, and not just the strong-willed or physically strong. It takes people who are emotionally healthy and prepared.

On the nightly news, we see COVID-19 tearing at the emotional toughness of healthcare workers. The resulting trauma is widespread, catastrophic, and overwhelming, and often attacks the emotional stability of front-line workers. It has challenged the most resilient people. These workers will become a second wave of victims.

Last year, mental health researchers and social scientists predicted an emerging mental health epidemic related to the pandemic. To make matters more grave, mental health professionals are now booked solid for months and, like the medical doctors and nurses on the front lines fighting COVID-19, behavioral health providers report feeling overwhelmed and stressed. We also hear mental health counselors say they are “burned out” and are closing their doors to new referrals, further complicating our already overburdened mental health system.

I would challenge company leadership to be at the forefront of initiating conversations with employees on what effect COVID-19 has had on them and their family members. Ask employees about their mental well-being, how they are coping, and what they need.

Second, look at your healthcare and EAP plans. With the rise of healthcare insurance, cost sharing, and employees choosing high-deductible options, an EAP benefit can help eliminate financial barriers for those wanting to seek help. A small increase in the EAP benefit can be highly cost effective.

Finally, if you have an EAP, take advantage of its offerings that can help promote your mental wellness initiatives.

To learn more about the FEI EAP or our crisis management services, please contact us.