Four Ways Leaders Can Break Through Mental Health Stigma In The Workplace
Article published by Forbes on April 13, 2021
Mental health is a topic that affects virtually everybody, whether you have been afflicted personally, you have family or friends who are living with mental illness or you are working alongside somebody who is impacted. And remember — mental health isn’t discerning; it can affect anybody regardless of age, gender, nationality, wealth or career.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges pertaining to this issue is that mental illness is largely invisible. Reflecting on his own experiences with mental health, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers said in 2018, “Everyone is going through something that we can’t see.” I think this sentiment rings truer now than ever before. The coronavirus pandemic has certainly exposed new mental health challenges and exacerbated existing ones: fear and uncertainty are ramping up peoples’ anxiety, an increasing number of newly remote workers are feeling lonely and isolated, and many people are experiencing grief over the loss of a job, health or loved one.
According to the CDC, by the end of June 2020, 40% of American adults reported struggling with mental health — a substantial increase from the year prior. Perhaps even more concerning, NAMI reports that 60% of adults with mental illness did not receive services or treatment. With people spending about one-third of their lives at work, the pressure’s on for corporations to play an active role in solving and supporting these challenges. We have a mental health crisis on our hands, but those in leadership roles are in a unique position to broach this taboo subject, address the stigmas around mental health, reshape the conversations and drive sustainable change in the company’s culture. For the CEOs we partner with, mental wellness is definitely a top-of-mind issue and one that they are eager to tackle.