The worldwide rush to secure a suitable and effective vaccine to counter the COVID-19 pandemic’s reach has reached frenzied proportions. Governments are jockeying to be first in the queue – unfortunately, with some wealthy countries playing geo-political games to outmanoeuvre other less wealthy neighbours, probably to their own demise. Cross-border travellers carrying the virus will sort out their selfishness. A global strategy is needed to create population immunity and protect precious lives and the livelihoods of people everywhere.

There is, however, a second pandemic running parallel to the Corona virus disease – a pandemic that negatively impacts the mental health and emotional wellness of millions of people all over the world. It is subtle and one can hardly perceive its presence, but it is real nevertheless. Left unchecked, it has the power to unsettle the strongest of us and unseat our sense of control. It preys, amongst others, on the following:

  • The psyche, inducing anxiety, fear and high levels of stress
  • The mind, disabling the ability to make rational choices
  • The heart, dismantling a sense of hope
  • Courage, disrupting self-efficacy and the ability to navigate the future
  • Relationships, destroying previously solid partnerships
  • Work, diminishing the ability to perform at effectiveness levels of the past
  • Communication, weakening objectivity and increasing sensitivity

The people of our world need an “emotional vaccine” – one that will guard the fragility of the human being during these stressful times. This is particularly true within the workplace, where leaders have the responsibility of creating an emotionally robust environment for their employees to thrive. Alinda Nortje, founder and chief executive officer of Free To Grow, notes the following about leaders providing “emotional vaccines” for their staff: “Provided in the recommended doses – they will build employees’ emotional fitness – resilience, optimism, ownership and flexibility – enabling staff to persevere during tough times”.

There is a huge need for an “emotional vaccine” to guard against deterioration in mental health and emotional wellness. Leaders should help employees with staying strong in these tough times through care and the provision of the skills necessary to bolster emotional wellness.

Free To Grow offers the “emotional vaccine” to organisations through a workshop called “Staying Strong” as a tool to equip employees with coping with emotional stress. For more info, contact me on

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