Mental health conditions can have a huge impact on companies, from decreased productivity to lowered morale. Companies that join with NAMI in being stigmafree can begin to reverse this. A Stigmafree Company is one that makes stigmafree culture a priority and shows that it values employees’ overall health, including emotional well-being and physical health. Being stigmafree creates the foundation for a culture of openness, acceptance, understanding and compassion.
NAMI’s Stigmafree Company campaign will unite Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and employee engagement initiatives into a tool kit and outreach effort that will equip companies with the tools, resources, assets and information they need to promote mental health awareness in the workplace, to encourage acceptance and understanding and to take action as part of their efforts to further our larger social good. We will be challenging companies all across America to step up and to do their part—for them, too, to take steps to learn about mental health, to see the person not the condition and to take action to help eliminate stigma and barriers to understanding.
What is Stigma? And How Does it Impact My Workplace?
Stigma is a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something (in this case, mental illness). Stigma ostracizes a sizeable chunk of your workforce, because mental health conditions are very prevalent. One in five adults in Americans experience mental illness in a given year. Despite their prevalence, we often have a hard time understanding mental health conditions. There are many misconceptions about what mental illness is and what it means to live with a mental health condition.
Depending on the size of your company, 1 in 5 could feasibly represent one person in each department—dozens of faces, dozens of names, dozens of human beings on your staff wanting to have a serious conversation about workplace mental health, but having zero resources and a whole lot of barriers to do so. That is stigma.
Mental health conditions that go untreated can have a real impact on the day-to-day workings of a company, from decreased employee productivity to lower morale. Mental health conditions and the associated stigma can greatly impact companies, both financially and in terms of morale. Eight in ten workers say shame and stigma prevent them from seeking treatment for a mental health condition. In addition, mental illness costs the economy about $200 billion in lost earnings each year. Companies engaging in the stigmafree initiative can begin to change this. Learning the facts about mental health conditions is the first step, and can help individuals separate the mental health condition from the person. Individuals can also consider the words they use around the office in both formal and casual conversations (e.g. “Your desk is so organized! You’re so OCD.” “She’s acting completely crazy today.”) These seemingly small steps help create a healthier work environment.
NAMI is honored to highlight the initiative of the seven companies who are first to embrace the partnership through existing and future activities. They serve as an example to both inspire and challenge other companies to get involved.
Learn How to Join the Movement
Reach out to learn more and to access the stigmafree company welcome kit and other resources.