Looking after yourself during the Coronavirus outbreak; Psychological advice for employees from International SOS & Affinity Health at Work

13 March 2020 ,  London

As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to have an impact on the workforce and businesses globally, International SOS and Affinity Health at Work have collaborated to produce ten evidence based suggestions to support mental wellbeing during the crisis.

Dr Laurent Taymans, Regional Medical Director, International SOS comments, “We see a daily tally of countries and a growing number of people affected as the Coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. This evolving and escalating situation can considerably increase stress. There is an element of the unknown, and situations can change quickly. In these circumstances it is important to provide access to timely, accurate, verified information. Employees can also feel increasingly vulnerable. Organisations need to be aware that employees will respond in many different ways to a crisis and ensure their practices and policies encompass mental wellbeing to adhere to Duty of Care obligations.”

Dr Rachel Lewis, Registered Occupational Psychologist & Director, Affinity Health at Work, said, ‘Crises cause unknown and uncertain situations and a sense of danger. Many people are likely to be feeling a heightened awareness of the current outbreak and the risks that they may be exposed to during their work. Concern and fear are common and it is important that employees feel comfortable talking about their stress and worries and have access to support and advice to cope.”

Top Tips for Mental Health in a Crisis

  1. Research and learn
  2. Accept your worries
  3. Look after yourself
  4. Consider the information you receive
  5. Focus on what you can control
  6. Think about prevention, not avoidance
  7. Think about your impact on others
  8. Focus on the present moment
  9. Be prepared to say ‘no’
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Dr Taymans, continues, “There are very likely to be future occurrences of significant novel viral infectious outbreaks’ that become a threat to people, and as an impact, business continuity and sustainability. We don’t know what these look like yet, in form, timeframe or impact, but preparedness is essential. With the right planning and measures, including mental health considerations, organisations will be in the best position to respond and protect their people and business.’”

The full explanation of the mental health coping mechanisms can be found here.

For on-demand webinars and information, including a pocket guide, on the Coronavirus outbreak, click here.

Notes to Editors

About the International SOS Group of Companies

The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help protect your people, your organisation's reputation, as well as support your compliance reporting needs. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability.


Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group, headquartered in London & Singapore, is trusted by 12,000 organisations, including the majority of the Fortune 500, as well as mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 12,000 multicultural medical, security and logistics experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,000 locations in 90 countries, 24/7, 365 days.   

To protect your workforce, we are at your fingertips: www.internationalsos.com