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Michael Thompson Highlights Employer Efforts to Address Mental Health Issues

Employers have become more aware of how key an issue mental health is for employees and they are relieving some of the perceived stigma by making it okay to talk about mental health issues, said Michael Thompson, president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.


Employers have become more aware of how key an issue mental health is for employees and they are relieving some of the perceived stigma by making it okay to talk about mental health issues, said Michael Thompson, president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.

Transcript

What are employers doing to help remove perceived stigma around mental health issues?

Well, mental health is clearly a key issue for employers. I think the awareness of how important it is to their employees and the impact on their workforce and their productivity and their performance at work and what not has never been higher.

The stigma around mental health, though, continues to be an issue. And one of the key issues that employers are doing is what we call “breaking the silence.” They’re actually talking about mental health within the workforce. They’re having promotional days. They’re getting leaders to step up and engage in what they’ve experienced themselves or their families. And beyond that, I think they are also looking at how to engage their supervisors and [human resources] professionals to better recognize what are the key issues that their employees—how to identify some of those issues and then what to do if they actually experience it.

So, increasingly, I think they’re taking more a proactive stance on mental health, rather than just offering a passive [Employee Assistance Program], looking for ways to support their employees more proactivity and more broadly they’re looking at issues related to the environment that they’re creating in terms of how that’s impacting mental health, as well.

 
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