by Blake Fussell
When an employee experiences an injury or illness that has displaced them from work, physical health and financial concerns can take a toll. But the mental and psychosocial effects on the employee and their family can be just as difficult to push through and can often be overlooked.
As proven by the COVID-19 pandemic, job-displacing illnesses and injuries can be unpredictable. With more than 23 percent of households relying on one income stream, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job displacement could affect the needs, priorities, and people that the employee took their job for in the first place.
This can lead to significant worry, stress and panic. In fact, 40 percent of employees who have missed work due to illness or injury have experienced a mental health-related barrier to recovery, according to a 2022 study by Business Wire.
Since job-displacing events can be unpredictable, finding resources and help has been a daunting task for many. Fortunately, Kind Souls, a nonprofit, discovered that need and has created a free-of-charge service for employees who have been impacted.
What is Kind Souls?
Kind Souls has provided a warm line service that operates entirely virtually. Employees searching for emotional support can schedule an online or phone session to discuss their issues and find solutions.
The warm line operates through volunteers who have taken the initiative to lend an ear and kind words, as well as information on local resources to assist with problems associated with job displacement. Employees who use Kind Souls receive both emotional and tangible resources, according to Danielle Troxel, managing director of Kind Souls.
“A warm line is different from a hotline or a crisis line," Troxel said. “It is intended for use before the individual reaches that state of crisis, and hopefully prevents them from reaching that state at all. Warm lines prevent barriers that keep people from getting the help they need.”
Even when treatment and healthcare may be provided to an employee, they often feel unheard and unsupported. Employees may not know where to find emotional support and may deal with the negative stigma that follows it which created a gap Kind Souls has been determined to fill.
Cost has been another major factor when it comes to receiving emotional support after a job-displacing event. With an average appointment costing between $60 and $200, Kind Souls has relieved employees of the cost burden through entirely free, virtual services.
Who does Kind Souls benefit?
Firstly, Kind Souls has connected directly to employees who have been displaced from their jobs. These employees receive emotional support from a volunteer, then are connected with tangible resources such as food, housing and other essentials often provided by local non-profits.
Family members of employees displaced from their jobs can also receive assistance through Kind Souls. Family members, as well as caregivers, are provided information and compassion when it comes to handling their loved one’s illness or injury. Kind Souls has also benefited employers as a supplement to existing benefits plans.
“Having a support system that keeps them on a path to recovery and making that emotional adjustment towards recovery is really important,” Troxel said. “So we’re here to emotionally support and empower our callers.”
How does Kind Souls work?
If a displaced employee, family member or employer has found that Kind Souls could benefit their recovery, the first step is to schedule an online or phone appointment for emotional support through the Kind Souls website. With the all-virtual system, Kind Souls can be accessed throughout the country.
Callers are then connected to an emotional support volunteer. After providing initial services, the volunteer takes confidential notes of the problems, solutions, and ongoing concerns. Follow-up calls are also available whenever they are needed.
Kind Souls uses iCarol as their contact tracking system. Through either text messages or emails, callers can receive resource referrals and follow-up call information through iCarol.
How can I help?
Kind Souls is a non-profit that operates through donations and volunteers. If you or your company is interested in supporting Kind Souls, visit the Donate page on their website.
There are three donation tiers with Kind Souls, all of which will also benefit the donor through brand exposure and networking opportunities. With a donation as small as $1,000, your company logo can be placed on the Kind Souls Sponsors page.
To learn more about Kind Souls, visit their website or attend one of their conference appearances. Their next presentation will take place from March 21-22 in Phoenix, AZ.