Mental Health Awareness Month: Prioritizing Well-Being

Mental Health Awareness Month

It’s okay to not be okay. You may have heard this phrase bounced around social media recently. It’s a phrase that acknowledges that people from all walks of life can experience mental health struggles and seeks to destigmatize these experiences. If you’ve seen this popping up in the national conversation more recently, it’s probably because May is Mental Health Awareness Month – an awareness campaign recognized in the US since 1949 which serves to shed light on mental health.

“Mental Health” is an umbrella term that can cover all manner of conditions – from the kind of stress that daily life can bring, to more chronic anxiety and depression, to very serious episodes up to and including suicide. This aspect of health is incredibly common and incredibly overlooked. Due to the wide variation in the kinds of mental health episodes people experience, as well as under reporting due to stigma, it is difficult to estimate exactly how many US adults struggle with mental health, but it’s widely agreed that around 20% of the population struggles with anxiety, and around 9.5% will experience significant depression. Globally, the economic burden of anxiety and depression is estimated to be $1 trillion per year.

It’s no secret that Catalina Associates takes employee well-being seriously, and we think that putting the complexities that come with being a human into terms of dollars lost is callous. However, it’s a good illustration of just how common and serious mental health can be. We also recognize that as an employer, we can play a pivotal role in fostering an environment where mental health is destigmatized and prioritized. Some ways in which Catalina supports this are:

  • Open Dialogue: We believe in the power of communication. We encourage open conversations about mental wellness in the workplace, and we will always be a resource to any employee who needs to discuss this.
  • Flexible Work Environment: Catalina is a fully virtual company. This means that all employees have the ability to work from home, under the circumstances that are best for them. One of the many reasons we set out to be a virtual company is to support employees in managing their work-life balance.
  • Mental Health Resources: Catalina provides health insurance that covers mental health services, which includes a hotline for mental health and substance abuse support, if needed.
  • Self-Care Practices: We encourage our employees to prioritize self-care and self-compassion. Whether it is taking regular breaks, engaging in mindfulness exercises, or simply unplugging when needed, we want to be sure our team members know that we support them prioritizing themselves.

By taking these proactive steps, we hope to foster a workplace where mental health is valued.

I’d like to conclude this post by providing some additional resources. Mental Health America decides on a yearly theme for Mental Health Awareness Month. This May the theme is “Where to Start.” You can download their free toolkit at their website here. This toolkit provides ideas for individual outreach, policy change outreach, webinars, coping strategies, and crisis resources (and more).

And, as always, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis or having thoughts of suicide, please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

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