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WTWs Erin Terkoski Young discusses mental health at work

WTW's Erin Terkoski Young discusses mental health at work

 May 15, 2023

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Senior Director for Health, Equity & Wellbeing at WTW, Erin Terkoski Young, discusses mental health awareness, and explains how to raise awareness and reduce stigma in the workplace.

"Approximately one third of employees report struggling with depression or anxiety, according to our Global Benefits Attitude Survey," explains Erin. "And employers are well aware of the toll the pandemic has taken on employees emotional health as they have ranked enhancing mental health and emotional wellbeing programs as their top priorities in 2023, according to our Best Practices in Healthcare Survey."

Raising awareness and reducing stigma

With increased focus on mental health, it is an ideal time to raise awareness and reduce the stigma, especially in the workplace.

"Managing mental health begins with understanding and awareness. Understanding what mental health is, why it’s important and how employees can begin to address their mental health needs is the reason for May’s Mental Health Awareness Month," says Erin. 

Promoting awareness for mental health

Mental Health month

Promoting awareness for mental health takes time and careful consideration.

Here, Erin shares five actions you can take now to prepare for a successful Mental Health Awareness Month:

  • Plan a mental health awareness campaign and timeline: Actively promote mental health awareness by encouraging people to wear ribbons or green cloths, holding a fundraiser and hosting guest speakers. The key to awareness is keeping a regular cadence to sustain engagement and using various methods.
  • Share internal mental health resources: Identify a dedicated space to access information on mental health. The dedicated space could be a physical space, such as a break room, or a virtual space such as a dedicated intranet site. Your mental health resources could include relevant information, fact sheets, educational information, articles, information about physical health topics that impact mental health, social or financial wellbeing resources, links to videos, help line information, and discussion topics. Good sources of publicly available content include National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • Draw on key relationships: Reach out to key bodies pivotal in mental healthcare and access, especially through employee assistance programs and health plans. Inquire about helpful content, flyers, interactive bulletin boards, educational workshops, group webinars or programs.
  • Plan an event or company-wide challenge: Dedicate time and space for a mental health event or challenge during May. Options include leadership fireside chats, guest speakers, webinars, or group discussions that highlight mental health, decrease stigma, and build awareness. Fold in fun activities into your campaigns and challenges, too.
  • Promote self-care: Encourage colleagues to take time for themselves, whether that is a mid-day self-care break or taking a mental health day.
  • Mental Health Awareness Month presents an opportunity to drive attention to mental health issues, reduce stigmas associated with it and support employees in caring for their mental health. How can you make Mental Health Awareness Month a success in your own organization? 

Work for a company like WTW that supports mental wellbeing

WTW actively supports its employees mental health. 

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