During the Month of May, The National Association of Mental Illness joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. The 2021 Mental health Awareness Month amplifies the message of “You Are Not Alone.” Through this blog WACO explores Mental Health resources in Washington State for government employees, as well as counties that have implemented mental health programs for their employees.
The CDC offers a comprehensive brief on mental disorders that are common in the workplace. According to their website, Nearly 1 in 5 US adults aged 18 or older (18.3% or 44.7 million people) reported any mental illness in 2016. In addition, 71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress, such as a headache or feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Although a professional environment, the workplace can also be a place for activities designed to improve the well-being among adults. The CDC concludes that “Workplace wellness programs can identify those at risk and connect them to treatment and put in place supports to help people reduce and manage stress. By addressing mental health issues in the workplace, employers can reduce health care costs for their businesses and employees.”
COVID-19 social distancing may be ending soon, but the results of the pandemic on overall public health will be seen for long after the pandemic ends. The Washington Department of Health offers a podcast dedicated to various topics of behavioral health and the pandemic’s effect. Their webpage also offers a Behavioral Health Group Impact Reference Guide which “describes behavioral health impacts and recommendations for some occupations and social roles that could be more heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This guide is intended for incident response organizations and planners, organizations that support or employ these groups, and behavioral health agencies and organizations.”
The Washington Department of Health also offers resources to worksite wellness beginning with a step-by-step guide to creating an environment that supports health. Topics covered range from breast-feeding in the workplace, office nutrition, and ways to not sit for too long.
King County offers important information for their employees through the “Balanced You” program, which aims to balance work and life. Within the mental health section, they offer specific resources for those at most risk, including people of color, and employees facing layoff.