As we enter National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we as employers must increase our awareness about sensitive issues that affect the daily lives of the employees who work for us and the customers we are here to serve. The word ‘mental health’ has a negative stigma and can sometimes be an overwhelming and scary concept to even think about when it relates to your staff.
Workplace concerns affect everybody within an organization, and it can have serious consequences on your ultimate management goals. Whether it’s increasing sales, satisfying stockholders or helping those in local communities, the challenges are real but not undaunting. These concerns fall under the justice, equity, diversity and inclusion commitments of every corporation.
It is helpful to refocus our thinking. Focus our perspective on ourselves as human beings. The concept of well-being encompasses all aspects of our daily lives. We speak about a balance in our work life and home life, but what do we do to positively affirm making those choices? When there’s an impending deadline or goal that must be met, we ask the employees to set aside their personal issues and plow through the work to meet the company’s goals. Of course, organizations big and small need to accomplish their financial goals in order to pay their employees. However, supporting the health and well-being of their employees is a valuable investment in the organization’s bottom line.
We know the challenges we face at home, whether with ourselves or our families, are a shared human experience. When employers encourage openness to discuss personal challenges and provide employees with mental health resources when needed, it opens the door to a positive work environment, allows for greater job satisfaction, and increases productivity.
Maintaining a Positive Work Environment
When hiring and onboarding new employees, it is vital that a focus on positive motivation, support and team building are included in initial and ongoing training which is lead and supported by all levels of the corporation. For instance, when the chief executive officer shares positive personal self-care strategies they use, it opens the door for conversation and affirmation of individuals to take care of themselves. Parents and parent figures (I.e., aunts, uncles, grandparents, abuelas) have numerous responsibilities. They work full-time and maybe even go to school, while carrying the burden of all the pressures of nurturing and raising their children and youth as well as caring for elderly parents or other relatives.
During the pandemic, employers realized the value of family life. Parents truly were the unsung heroes working 24 hours a day, seven days a week calming and comforting their children, older relatives, spouses or partners and others in their community all while being isolated at home. They became instant educators, supporting all levels of learning (whatever the challenge may be for their children). They also provided safe entertainment, exercise and social interaction amongst family members, while balancing the demands of work, if they were able to continue their career while being at home.
Many first responders and health care professionals had to be at work, which created tremendous pressure to provide safe and affordable childcare and supervision for their children, sometimes for days on end. While those individuals were protecting and saving our lives, others stayed home trying to establish some normalcy under the fear of an unknown deadly virus.
We know the pandemic caused depression and anxiety to increase dramatically in parents, children and youth over the past three years and the question we should be asking ourselves is – are there services that are effective, available, accessible, and culturally responsive?
Studies have shown that 3 out of 10 parents cannot access mental health services and are afraid about the impact the pandemic has had on their children’s learning future, future, and overall well-being.
Partnering with nonprofit organizations who foster positive family relationships, enhance well-being, and are effective at supporting diverse parents, children and youth is a key ingredient to a successful business model.
Partnering with Parents Anonymous® for Employee Support Services
As President and CEO of Parents Anonymous®, one of the oldest family strengthening organizations in America, we are committed to supporting the empowerment journey of diverse parents, children and youth throughout California with evidence-based programs.
I encourage anyone who is struggling with their mental health to reach out for help. Parents Anonymous® Inc. operates the only California Parent and Youth Helpline® which is open 12 hours a day, seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for any parent, child, youth or concerned family friend to receive free emotional support. You can access services by calling or texting 855-427-2736, or live chat at caparentyouthhelpline.org.
Care and support are critical for any human being to seek help. People are afraid that they will be blamed, judged, or treated in a prejudicial manner when they share that they are struggling on some emotional level. It is vital that we promote prevention and early intervention for any parent or youth who may be in crisis or in need of support. That way, we can offer the opportunity to prevent and treat these very complicated personal and painful feelings and thoughts and create positive childhood experiences and avoid traumas.
Parents Anonymous® Inc. was started in 1969 in Southern California. As a non-profit organization, we work in shared leadership® with corporations, agencies, government, and other non-profits to continue moving the needle in the mental health space to achieve positive outcomes for all.
If you are a business owner, business manager, or HR representative, Parents Anonymous® Inc. will partner with you to plan a ‘Well-being Initiative’ developed in shared leadership® with you and your employees. Parents Anonymous® is here to help employees, their families, and companies achieve their mission and goals. Feel free to contact CEO, Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more how to realize well-being goals in the workplace through the consultation, technical assistance, and evidence-based Parents Anonymous® services including weekly online support groups for parents, complimentary age-appropriate online groups for children and youth age 11 to 18, and helpline services and peer support up to age 25.
Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin is CEO of Parents Anonymous® Inc.