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May 11, 2023

Insights from the Workplace Mental Health Action Summit 2.0

Thank you for joining over 1,000 business leaders at HAA’s second annual Workplace Mental Health Action Summit on May 4th as we discussed the next generation of workplace mental health initiatives.

Read on for takeaways from the event, and please share with colleagues who are also interested in improving workplace mental health. A full recording of the Summit is now available.

Insights From Keynote Speaker Bob Pragada

For many, like Bob Pragada, CEO of Jacobs, the motivation is personal.

Pragada’s father was clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the time there was still a huge stigma related to mental health. “As a young child, I saw his struggle and I even get a little choked thinking about it today,” Pragada said during the keynote. “But it's something that stuck with me for the balance of my life.”

Watch the full conversation with Bob Pragada
and learn more about the investment Jacobs made in One Million Lives, a mental health check-in tool.

Updated Resources For Business Leaders

HAA’s newly released Workplace Mental Health Playbook 2.0 and accompanying Small Business Guide offer a step-by-step game plan to help you support your workforce.

Insights From Panel Conversations

Here are five takeaways our panelists shared to reinforce a culture of mental well-being for your workforce:

  1. Present leadership with a business case for workplace mental health. Investing in mental health can benefit businesses by improving employee well-being and productivity, while also reducing healthcare costs and turnover rates.

    “Aside from it being the right thing to do,” said Shalin Kothari, VP of People and DEI Strategy for Schneider Electric North America, “if you look at this as what's in it for a business, at the end of the day, it's about how individuals show up in the workplace. And if businesses want to get the most productivity out of their workers, they need to make sure they're helping them in every way possible.”

  2. Measure and track support. Measurement plays a critical role in the design, development and implementation of workplace mental health programs.  “It also helps in telling a really good story within the organization,” said Jason Morgan, Global Health and Wellbeing Lead at Splunk. Companies can strategically identify specific steps for improvement by assessing the current state of mental health support in the organization.

    Patti Gould, Global Head of Total Rewards at Citigroup, highlighted the value of sharing results with managers and making sure they’re trained on how to use that data as “a real living and breathing tool” to help their teams.

    Watch the full panel discussion about mental health assessments here.

  3. Equip and empower your managers. Research shows that managers can have as much impact on someone’s mental health as a romantic partner. Making sure managers feel prepared to identify and support employee mental health is key. You can empower managers to foster psychological safety by encouraging employees to voice their ideas and concerns without fear of retaliation.

    However, as Gould emphasized, managers aren’t mental health providers. “We're not looking for them to diagnose anything, we’re just making sure that they are informed of the resources and the things to look for so that they can escalate and get the help needed for their employees.” (HAA’s newly refreshed Conversation Guide for Managers can get you started.)

  4. Address Gen Z’s expectations. Gen Z is a diverse and growing part of the workforce,  and they are “showing up to work with a different set of expectations than past generations,” according to Dr. Dennis Stolle, Senior Director of Applied Psychology at the American Psychological Association. These young professionals are redefining the psychological employment contract – “an unwritten set of terms and expectations that we all just carry around in our heads about how we expect things to work in the workplace.”

    Authenticity is crucial to Gen Z workers, who value the ability to be their genuine selves in the workplace. Authenticity promotes stress reduction, social connection and job engagement. By meeting the mental health expectations of Gen Z, you can create a supportive workplace culture that benefits all employees.

    Watch the full panel discussion about Gen Z's expectations here.

  5. Inspire one hour of action for mental health next Thursday, May 18th on Mental Health Action Day. The Summit was the official employer activation event for Mental Health Action Day, a movement powered by MTV that unites over 1,800 brands, nonprofits, and government agencies to take action on mental health.

    Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President of Social Impact Strategy from MTV encouraged employers to join the movement to “shift our culture from mental health awareness to mental health action.” This year's call to action is to take one hour to support mental health for you, your loved ones, or your community. “We don’t prescribe what that action is – it’s what works best for you.”

Check out HAA's new resources to help mobilize your company on Mental Health Action Day:

By investing in mental health and creating a supportive workplace culture, businesses can improve employee well-being, productivity and ultimately, their bottom line.

Messages From Our Sponsors

American Psychological Association

There's no better time to prioritize mental health in your workplace. To start, take these 5 steps to improve employee mental health and well-being.

Learn more from the American Psychological Association

Learn more from One Mind at Work