Embracing a Focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace

The past two years have included decades worth of seminal societal moments. We've navigated the health crisis of a pandemic while working and socializing in completely new ways. We've seen a racial reckoning, an insurrection, and several major international conflicts over sovereignty. Luckily, through all of this upheaval, we've also seen an unprecedented focus on mental health.

This understanding of the importance of mental health has made its way into the workplace, with many organizations implementing new and improved mental health support for employees. These efforts include more widely publicizing mental health services available via employee assistance programs, building in mental health breaks and activities, as well as updating wellness programs to focus on the specific mental and physical health needs, we have today.

Workplaces are also re-evaluating policies regarding acceptable behavior in light of heightened frustration over mask and vaccine mandates as well as actions and language as it relates to race and gender. This broader look at supporting mental health in the workplace encompasses a more diverse set of life circumstances and beliefs than ever before.

Beyond routine mental health care, there is also a renewed focus on supporting debilitating mental health issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that are part of many jobs including law enforcement, military, and healthcare. The 2022 Public Safety Officer Support Act (S. 3635) has been introduced to presume that a government law enforcement officer with PTSD developed that condition as part of the job. This makes personnel eligible for disability assistance through the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program. This program currently only covers physical ailments.

A number of events and resources regarding workplace mental wellness are available via GovEvents and GovWhitePapers to help guide organizations in better supporting employee mental health.

  • Mental Health America's 2022 Annual Conference (June 9-11, 2022; Washington, DC) - This event brings together hundreds of Mental Health America affiliates, peers, providers, government officials, media, and key stakeholders to explore the intersecting equity issues that exist in mental health.
  • Creating a Culture of Wellness: Increase Retention, Morale, and Employee Health by Infusing Wellness into Your Agency (June 9, 2022; webcast) - The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) acknowledged the need to support agencies in their efforts to provide employees the mental, emotional, and physical health resources they deserve. As a result, agencies are looking for ways to implement wellness programming. This class will address the implementation of "wellness tactics" in all areas of the agency to help facilitate culture change.
  • NCCHC Correctional Mental Health Care Conference (August 1-2, 2022; Denver, CO) - Share information, ask questions, and network at this event focused specifically on mental health in correctional facilities. Find out how facilities across the country are using tools and technology to keep up with clinical needs. Hear how leaders are coping with "compassion fatigue" and burnout. Sharpen your skills to improve patient care for this challenging population.
  • Leading Soldiers with ADHD (white paper) - ADHD could be concerning or even dangerous in a military setting, but addressing the challenges and recognizing the potential can be beneficial to the U.S. Army. Adults with ADHD bring a high degree of creativity and innovation to the workplace due to their tendency to think outside the box. This article addresses some of the challenges soldiers with ADHD face and provides six tips to help Army leaders manage and optimize their performance.
  • The Growing Need for Inclusive Leadership (infographic) - The pandemic caused fundamental changes to the business and work environment, and for most employees, it deeply affected their sense of belonging and inclusion. As a result, organizations must commit to helping their frontline managers relearn skills that will enable them to address the new, unique needs of their teams. To do this effectively, they'll need to embrace a new kind of inclusive leadership.

For more resources on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace check out GovEvents and GovWhitePapers.

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