At yesterday’s Board of Airport Commissioners meeting, at the end of my management report, I spoke about the impact that COVID-19 and the Stay at Home orders have on our collective mental health, as well as some of the resources available to our employees. I have mentioned these in my CEO messages in the past, but I want to reinforce them. Our Commissioners shared their support for making sure these resources are accessible and available to all of you.
Right now, we are facing a time of great uncertainty and change. We all have to be so attentive to each and every one of our actions to ensure we are not doing something that could result in us getting or spreading the virus. This enhanced awareness coupled with the general and ongoing concern that we may get very ill from the COVID-19 virus has us all exhausted. And we are managing these feelings while being restricted to our homes. To add to this, some of us have close friends or family who may have tested positive for COVID-19, or may be in a vulnerable population that puts them at greater risk. Others we know have lost jobs or received a cut in hours. Many in our communities, including many of our LAWA team members, must balance work with home schooling their children, or caring for elderly parents. Others are experiencing this period of isolation on their own.
All of these circumstances can cause us to feel anxious, fearful and/or sad. But we all must realize it’s OK to feel that way. We are going through a very difficult and traumatic time that will affect even the strongest of us. Which is why it is more important than ever to keep our connections with friends, family and colleagues strong, and to ask for help when we need it. LAWA, the City of Los Angeles and LA County have assistance available to help you through this time, whether it’s through counseling, mindfulness, information or exercise.
As the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health shares on its website, “when you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of infectious disease, you may feel anxious and show signs of stress – even when the outbreak affects people far from where you live and you are at low or no risk of getting sick. These signs of stress are normal and may be more likely in people with loved ones in parts of the world affected by the outbreak. During an infectious disease outbreak, care for your own physical and mental health and reach out in kindness to those affected by the situation.”
The LA County Department of Mental Health website is an excellent resource, with information and resources on coping with COVID-19 and the associated trauma.
Here are a few other programs I’d encourage you to check out:
Employee and Family Assistance Program
What is the Support-Plus Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)? The Support-Plus EFAP offers a broad array of resources and services for City of Los Angeles employees, including:
- Work-Life Resources on topics such as parenting, childcare, legal resources, and financial education
- Convenience Services for everyday needs such as finding household service providers
- Confidential Counseling for stress management, personal relationships, and substance abuse
- COVID-19 related webinars covering topics such as Coping with Traumatic Events, Financial Best Practices in Uncertain Times
How does Support-Plus EFAP work? LAwell Program members are eligible for up to five face-to-face and/or web-video consultations per person, per incident. Same day counseling services are available for emergencies.
How do I access Support-Plus EFAP? You can access Support-Plus EFAP representatives 24/7at 800-213-5813 (access code: CityofLA). You can also access their website at www.LiveAndWorkWell.com/CityofLA.
Does EFAP offer COVID-19 support to LAWA employees? Yes, visit their website at www.LiveAndWorkWell.com/CityofLA for more information about their COVID-19 support options. The website provides a special resources page focused on COVID-19 support, and EFAP offers Virtual Visits with psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, or other behavioral health specialists via Google Hangouts video, Skype, Apple FaceTime or Facebook Messenger video chat.
LAWA Ombuds Office
If you are having difficulty adjusting to our new way of operating, difficulty working at home, or just would like someone to talk to, please remember that you can turn to our LAWA Ombudsperson for support. You can contact the Ombuds Office via email (email@example.com), telephone (424-646-7621) or video conference. You can find FAQs on the Ombuds Office at LAWA on the Employee Portal.
LAWA Wellness Program
Every week, our LAWA Wellness Program, coordinated by the Airport Police Department, hosts a number of programs focused on maintaining physical and mental wellness, as well as webinars to help us cope with our new Safer at Home normal. Fitness classes include yoga, Zumba and Qigong. Our Wellness team is working on a webpage right now where you’ll be able to view the available classes and sign up to attend a session. For now, keep your eye out in your email for messages regarding these classes. Here is the current schedule of classes (subject to change):
- Stress Reduction Rest & Reset with Nicole: 1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
- Qigong with Tomm: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Our Wellness team is also providing information webinars on topics of special interest during this time when many of you are telecommuting and we are all abiding by the Safer at Home orders. You can find archives of the webinars on the Employee Portal on the telecommute page.
Available webinars include:
All of these resources are in place to help you, and I hope you will make use of them. I know that there are several members of our executive team who have joined fitness classes these past few weeks and have really enjoyed them.
I hope that all of you have a restful and rejuvenating weekend. Please remember to stay home and only go out for essential activity, and when you do go out wear a face covering. And if you haven’t done it already, this weekend is the perfect opportunity to fill out your U.S. Census to ensure you and your family are counted and our communities get the resources they deserve.
For those who celebrate, I wish you a very happy Easter.
Interim CEO, LAWA