StigmaFree means understanding & support.One in five adults experiences a mental health condition each year. Depending on the size of your company, 1 in 5 could represent one person in each department wanting to have a serious conversation about workplace mental health, but having zero resources and a lot of barriers to do so. Untreated mental health conditions can have a real impact on the day-to-day workings of a company, both financially and in terms of morale. Symptoms can include: sleep problems, lack of concentration, aches and pains, irritability, low motivation or self-medication. These symptoms can have a negative impact on the workplace. There are many ways that an organization can support individuals experiencing mental health challenges, yet the biggest obstacle is often getting employees to utilize those supports and services. Eight in ten workers say shame and stigma prevent them from seeking treatment for a mental health condition. Businesses everywhere can begin to change this by becoming a StigmaFree Company—a company with a culture of openness, acceptance, and understanding about employees’ overall health and well-being.
NAMI’s StigmaFree Company programNAMI’s StigmaFree Company initiative encourages Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or business practices that take responsibility for a company’s impact on social well-being. This initiative combines CSR with employee engagement activities available in our StigmaFree Company Welcome Kit. The kit equips companies with the resources, assets and information they need to promote mental health awareness in the workplace and to encourage acceptance and understanding. StigmaFree Company is a company-driven initiative to reduce stigma, provide mental health resources, and improve navigation of mental health issues in the workplace. It is a company-driven initiative, so we cannot tell you how to run your company. However, we can offer recommendations as guidelines for you to apply in a way that is appropriate for your organization.
What does a StigmaFree Company look like?
- Has company policies in place regarding mental health. You can support your employees in receiving the help they need by offering:
- Adequate insurance coverage
- Employee assistance programs
- Accommodations and/or disability planning for people with mental health conditions
- Access to quality care
- Policies to support family caregivers
- Shows support to employees. Supervisors and employees should be open to conversations about how to support employee mental health, be proactive in approaching coworkers who may be struggling and be understanding if someone needs accommodations.
- Provides management training. It’s important for managers to know how to have effective conversations about mental health and wellness in relation to conversations about performance and discipline.
- Decreases stigma in the workplace. Using non-stigmatizing language, encouraging employees to support one another and providing resources about mental health helps create a healthy workplace culture.