CEOs have new strategies to improve workers’ mental health

A new nonprofit, led by a talented list of executives, is developing a guidebook for businesses to support the mental health of their employees and a free online clearinghouse for those seeking help.

Important reasons: Project Healthy Minds recognizes that pandemic burnout is reaching even the back office, and by asking CEOs to speak up about their struggles and enacting meaningful policies, Project Healthy Minds is helping to end the stigma of mental illness. I’m trying to reduce

News promotion: Project Healthy Minds is creating what it calls “the first digital mental health marketplace for consumers,” a one-stop shop for finding crisis hotlines, psychiatrists, substance abuse treatment programs, or other related help. building.

  • Phillip Schermer, founder and CEO of Project Healthy Minds, says he previously helped shape mental health strategy at BlackRock.
  • Our second mission is to work with business leaders, celebrities, and public officials to have open conversations about the importance of mental health.
  • The third is to create national standards to guide companies’ mental health efforts. This is a very important issue for Millennials and Gen Z.

“In the knowledge economy, We need mentally strong, resilient workers,” says Schermer.

participant: Proponents of Project Healthy Minds include Bill Kolb, Chairman and former CEO of McCann Worldgroup. Jeff Raider, co-founder of Warby Parker and Harry’s. Jacqui Canney, Chief of ServiceNow and his People Officer. And Brian Offutt, Chief of Weber Shandwick, his Workforce Innovation and Operations Officer, said:

What they say: “Employees were in total jeopardy” during the pandemic, Kolb said, adding that several McCann employees had recently died by suicide.

  • Deeply shaken by these deaths, Kolb personally called the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) hotline to test the company’s safety measures, but was put on hold for 12 minutes.
  • When the human answered the phone, “the first thing I had to do was give my employee ID number, not talk about the fact that I was trying to kill myself,” Kolb recalled. did.
  • It then “started working very quickly,” including offering the Headspace app and “Wellness Wednesdays,” where guest speakers talk about mental health hygiene.
  • The company has also begun training all employees to become “mental health advocates” to help them recognize the emotional distress of their colleagues and others.

“No matter how much brain, time and effort it takes, Kolb told Axios:

status quo: McCann Worldgroup hired Project Healthy Minds to build a mental health training program for its executive board and upcoming senior executives.

  • “We thought it was important for leaders to be trained on these topics,” Kolb said, adding that the curriculum was built in collaboration with the National Depression Centers Network. .

By numbers: A Project Healthy Minds study found a gap between millennial and Gen Z workers’ expectations and what they’re getting.

  • 2 in 3 consider mental health when choosing an employer.
  • Only half said their employer supports their mental health.
  • 77% said they would quit their job if it hurt their mental health.

What’s next: Project Healthy Minds plans to compile a strong library of research on best practices in mental health programs and develop metrics by which companies can be evaluated.

  • Schermer says there needs to be a “standardized measurement” that future employees can refer to.
  • Investors who value companies on ‘ESG’ (Environmental, Social and Governance Practices) measures can use a company’s mental health policy as a way to assess a company’s ‘social’ performance.

To the point: “We are in the first inning of a long game of rethinking what it means for companies to support the mental health of their employees,” Schermer said.

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