Having a safe place for employees to care for their mental health is essential for workplaces to be their best and for employees to experience wellbeing. Liz Entin, Director of Health Strategies & Solutions at SIG, an Alera Group firm in Baltimore, MD, interviews NAMI Metro Baltimore’s Executive Director, Kerry Graves, on mental health in this week’s podcast.
Here are 3 Key Takeaways from our Podcast:
1. Education is Key. It can be difficult for employers and employees to have authentic and meaningful conversations about mental wellbeing. Education plays a critical role in providing facts and removing unhelpful and untrue ideas about mental health. While HR has a role in assisting employees, so do the executives, senior management, CEOs and mid-management in a company. Graves explains that 8 out of 10 employees aren’t accessing mental health resources because of shame and stigmas, in addition to being concerned about the repercussions.
Quarantine Challenge: Send out an educational article or resource on mental wellbeing to your team or via your company’s intranet.
2. Wellness Includes Mental Health. Mental health and physical health are often seen as two separate things, but Graves explains that they work together to achieve overall wellbeing. Recently, some workplaces have looked at instilling mental health days, in addition to sick days or vacation days. However, employers should be aware that employees may not feel comfortable using them and explaining that they need time for their mental health. Graves explains that employees should be able to take off work to go to therapy just as they would go to a primary care physician for a check-up.
Quarantine Challenge: Start and end your workday outside with a walk and/or take a break and get outside during your lunch hour.
3. Inclusion is important. It is important for employees who struggle with their mental health to feel seen and supported in their workplace. Mid-management and supervisors need to be trained to use inclusive language and create a safe space for employees. For optimal results, workplaces should provide opportunities for employees to invest in their health that everyone can participate in!
Quarantine Challenge: Share an online workout class or webinar with your co-workers or have a team member start your next meeting with stretching.
About the Hosts:
Elizabeth (Liz) Entin, MPH, RD, LDN
Director of Health Strategies & Solutions at SIG, an Alera Group Company
Liz joined SIG in 2019 and is the Director of Health Strategies & Solutions. Liz assists clients in creating meaningful and sustainable wellness solutions for their employees, identifying cost savings potential through wellness strategies, and analyzing population health data. Liz has experience in employee wellness program creation, implementation and management, public health, and reporting & evaluation. She is a Registered & Licensed Dietitian, and started her career providing medical nutrition therapy in both in-patient and out-patient settings. Liz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from Penn State University and a Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University. Liz sits on the board for the Maryland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) as the Council on Professional Issues Chair. She also holds her Maryland state Life & Health insurance license.
Executive Director of NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore
Kerry Graves has been in her current role as Executive Director of Nami Baltimore, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness since 2018. As Executive Director, Graves applies her 10 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector to providing direction and leadership for the mission and vision of NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore, Graves will serve as the chief liaison with government officials, media, community organizations, and key constituency groups.
To connect with Kerry, check out her LinkedIn.