Mental Health Webinar: Addressing Stigma and Increasing Awareness in the Workplace

March 19, 2021

HR Policy’s latest mental health webinar focused on the impact of mental health stigma and how leaders can support their employees through greater understanding of behavioral health issues.

Raising awareness and building a mentally healthy work culture:  APA Foundation Director, Center for Workplace Mental Health, Darcy Gruttadaro, kicked off the call by outlining the APA’s new e-Learning training module, Notice. Talk. Act. at Work.  The training module, developed with the help of global employers, aims to decrease the stigma of mental health in the workplace and even includes a resource on virtual work.  It educates managers and leaders on behavioral health and provides them with a dynamic learning experience to:

  • Notice the signs of potential behavioral health concerns;
  • Talk to an individual about their concerns; and 
  • Act on these concerns by connecting the individual with the appropriate services and supports.

Engaging meaningfully with employees poses unique challenges in the virtual environment.  ERIE Insurance’s Director, Diversity & Inclusion Tesha Nesbit has been focused on the “twin crises”—the pandemic and racial injustice.  Using affinity networks allowed ERIE to recognize how an individual’s identity shapes their work and how they interact with colleagues.  Focusing on communication as well as listening to employees has been crucial in addressing the painful and unique realities of mental health for minority employees.

Invest in mental health long term:  While the Mental Health Index shows improvement in employee mental health across the U.S., Medtronic’s EAP Director Lisa Dau stressed the importance of not looking at mental health as a hot topic for just the day or the year.  EAP offerings should be driven by employee needs, not just offered to check a box.

Returning to the office will pose its own challenges:  While returning to the office may feel like a return to normal, the way we work has changed over the last year and reopening offices may also impact employee mental health.  Mastercard’s Chief People Officer Michael Fraccaro urged attendees to remain focused on mental health as people return to offices and stressed the importance of the genuineness of leadership in creating a culture of empathy.  Continually listening and conducting pulse surveys will allow employers to structure their mental health benefits in a way that provides the most impact to their workforce.

The APA Foundation is offering a 15% discount for Notice. Talk. Act. at Work for HR Policy Association members.  To learn more, please contact Colleen McHugh at cmchugh@healthcarert.com or Margaret Faso at mfaso@americanhealthpolicy.org.