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CultureAug 05, 2021

Breaking the Stigma Around Mental Health in the Workplace: An Open Conversation With the Credera Women’s Network

Ileana Martinez and Allie Buckmaster

Now more than ever, companies are promoting the importance of discussing and caring for the mental health of their employees. But even with the influx of trainings, articles, and content around mental health, there are still lingering stigmas around discussing mental health in the workplace. In fact, despite all the efforts toward breaking the stigma around mental health, 86% of Americans do not feel comfortable discussing their mental health in their workplaces.

Try this yourself: Do you feel as though the pursuit and protection of mental health is a core component of your company’s culture? Are you transparent about the state of your mental wellbeing with those in positions of influence at your company? Does your workplace create a safe space to be honest about how mental health impacts the quality of your work?

If your answer is no to one or more of these questions, you’re not alone, and it highlights the need for work to be in done in this space.

Credera Women’s Network Response

With this reality in mind, the Credera Women’s Network (CWN) sought to explore how the women of Credera are really doing in terms of reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. The CWN hosted an event for our women at Credera to discuss these issues. Around 30 CWN members came together for a candid conversation about mental health in life and in the workplace.

The first half of the event focused on research that put topics of mental illness in perspective, both in the professional world and in relatively disadvantaged communities. The second half of the event was reserved for an open discussion where attendees anonymously volunteered personal stories.

What We Learned

We uncovered several key lessons in our initial research that helped set context for the event. However, research and statistics can only go so far without hearing intimate stories from those who are willing to share.

Here are five key takeaways we learned from both our research and our guided discussion:

1. In many cases, diagnosable mental illness does not necessarily impact whether people can add value in their workplaces.

2. Mental illness looks different for everyone, and it can fluctuate day-to-day. Sometimes it’s almost imperceptible from the outside, and highly efficient team members can still suffer from mental illness.

3. Socioeconomic status, cultural heritage, and gender identity all influence whether people can even seek help to promote their mental health at all. It also impacts what types of mental health services they seek, which coping styles and social supports they have access to, and how much stigma they attach to discussing mental illness.

4. Due to the myriad factors above, only 14% of Americans feel comfortable discussing their mental health openly in the workplace.

5.  Those in positions of influence can set the precedent for vulnerability and openness to discussing mental health in the workplace and validate the impact it has on their organization’s people and their work.

We ended our discussion on a forward-looking note by collecting audience recommendations for their peers who may be in earlier stages of their journey to better mental health. Here are a few of their responses:

Several Credera women share their feelings about mental health.

Talking to Credera Leadership

To ensure Credera’s leadership was aware of the shared and unique struggles our women face as it pertains to mental health and work, we decided to take our lessons to the Partner team. We briefed leadership on our research findings and shared several anonymized quotes from the event.

It was no surprise that Credera’s leadership team was not only open to the information, but also wanted to know how else they could offer support. Leadership’s commitment to caring for each employee has been proven with each opportunity presented, and the CWN is thankful for their continued support.

Looking Ahead

While this event isn’t the only solution, we believe it was one step in our journey toward breaking the stigma around mental health. With the research and feedback gathered and disseminated, we’ve taken one small step toward equipping Credera leaders with helpful materials they can use to be better allies to their teams and to validate concerns anyone has around their mental health.

If there is one quote from our session we could leave you with, it’s this: “Check in with people, because sometimes just being reminded that you matter to someone makes all the difference.”

Connect With Us

If you are interested in learning more about Credera, the CWN, or about mental health and illness, please reach out to findoutmore@credera.com. We’d love to continue the conversation with you!

Credera Women’s Network

The mission of the Credera Women’s Network (CWN) is to build and promote a community within Credera focused on recruiting, educating, developing, supporting, and connecting the women of Credera. Find out more about CWN events and more here.

 

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