Mental Health in the Workplace
DuPage County business leaders gathered on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at CBRE in Oak Brook for an important, roundtable discussion about mental health in the workplace. A variety of businesses and organizations throughout DuPage engaged in meaningful conversations about the resources available in DuPage County and what employers can do to help remove stigmas and support workforce. The discussion was led by Lori Carnahan, LCPC, Deputy Director of Behavioral Health at the DuPage County Health Department and Chris Hoff, MPH, Director of Community Health Resources at the DuPage County Health Department.
To open discussion, The Hon. Deborah Conroy, Chair of the DuPage County Board, shared that almost 50 million American adults experienced mental illness in 2019 (before COVID). And 15% of American youth has reported a major depressive episode in the past year.
“The plain fact is that demand is great, especially, among our youth. But I believe that getting the right people on the team, using the resources we have, and those we will pursue, we can make a difference. I know we will change and even save lives,” said Chair Conroy.
24/7 Urgent Crisis Resources
Lori Carnahan, LCPC shared the resources available through the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD), including calling or texting 988 to reach the National Suicide and Crisis Prevention Hotline. DCHD is a local center within the national hotline and can provide support, prevention, and resources 24/7. They also have a mobile response team that can meet someone at their location.
The blue button below can be downloaded for employers to use and should link to DCHD’s 24/7 Urgent Crisis Resources.
Creating Workplace Environments that Support Health & Well-Being
To kick off a discussion about how employers can help support mental health, Chris Hoff, MPH shared an excerpt from the U.S. Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being.
“When people thrive at work, they are more likely to feel physically and mentally healthy overall, and to contribute positively to their workplace… This creates both a responsibility and unique opportunity for leaders to create workplace environments that support the health and well-being of workers.”
The Five Essentials for Workplace Mental Health & Well Being include:
Protection from Harm
- Prioritize workplace physical and psychological safety
- Enable adequate rest
- Normalize and support mental health
- Operationalize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility norms, policies, and programs
Connection & Community
- Create cultures of inclusion and belonging
- Cultivate trusted relationships
- Foster collaboration and teamwork
- Provide more autonomy over how work is done
- Make schedules as flexible and predictable as possible
- Increase access to paid leave
- Respect boundaries between work and non-work time
Mattering at Work
- Provide a living wage
- Engage workers in workplace decisions
- Build a culture of gratitude and recognition
- Connect individual work with organizational mission
Opportunity for Growth
- Offer quality training, education, and mentoring
- Foster clear, equitable pathways for career advancement
- Ensure relevant, reciprocal feedback
DuPage Employers in Action: Real World Examples
Throughout the discussion leaders from a variety of industries and organizations shared what they are doing to support mental health, remove stigmas, and create healthier workplaces.
- Creating employee recognition programs.
- Designating spaces for meditation and mindfulness.
- Offering outdoor amenities such as gardens, sports and recreation, walking paths, etc.
- Hosting social events that foster a positive culture.
- Bringing pets to work.
- Supporting physical fitness through contributions to gyms and fitness memberships.
Breakfast with the Chair events are hosted by Choose DuPage, with Hon. Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Board Chair. This series of events is an opportunity for local business leaders to connect, learn and discuss important topics effecting DuPage County. Special thanks to CBRE for hosting us in their Oak Brook office.
For more information about the DuPage County Health Department, visit their website.