A new survey by McKinsey confirms that 9 out of 10 employers surveyed include behavioral health among their top workforce health concerns, noting that COVID-19 is affecting productivity.
In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reveals that depression and anxiety cost the world $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. Clearly, it’s our responsibility as corporate citizens to address mental health in the workplace.
At Salesforce, we have found some creative ways to bring mental health conversations into the workplace. For many years, we have incorporated meditation, monks, and moments of joy in our workplace culture and our company events. As the pandemic hit and remote work became a reality, we found new ways to add to these resources
As one example, our Chief People Officer, Brent Hyder, hosted a virtual Mental Health Town Hall for our global employee base of more than 70,000 people, featuring leaders from across the spectrum talking openly about this critical topic.
I was honored to be included in that conversation. And I’m grateful to work for a company that recognizes that the more we talk about it, the more we remove the stigma and provide a safe space for those who are suffering to seek help.
When we are alone, we are a single star. But together, we create constellations that can guide those who need help to find their way.
We believe that mental health, health equity, workforce development are all connected — you can’t separate one from the other. If team members are facing mental health struggles or family challenges, it absolutely impacts their ability to excel at work.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we know that it’s critical for leaders to model self-care for their teams. Because we know burnout is real, and that depression and anxiety are often byproducts of focusing too much on either the past or the future, rather than the gift that is the present. As leaders, the focus should always be on living life in the present tense: what’s amazing right now, what we’re proud of, what we’re grateful for, what we love, and how we can find joy in each day.
At Salesforce.org, we recognize that health equity concerns are especially problematic in the context of mental health. We see how the problems facing humanity globally — problems such as nutrition insecurity, housing insecurity, climate action, health equity, mental health and wellbeing, and workforce development — all intersect.
These are complex problems, and they’re too large for any one person, one nonprofit, or one educational institution to try to solve on their own. We have to work together — across sectors, across geographies, and across political lines — and we have to work toward solutions that span more than one axis.
We call these opportunities “force multipliers.” In fall 2021, we took time to further explore the idea of Force Multipliers with a podcast hosted by the incredible Baratunde Thurston. In an episode dedicated to mental health, we heard about how Black Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health issues. “We need culturally sensitive mental health services, period,” Charlamagne tha God told Thurston. “If we can encourage people to go into that space — people that look like us, sound like us, come from the same backgrounds as us — that’s what we need.”
When it comes to raising the next generation for our workplaces, the pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. School closures and physical distancing measures have reduced children and young adults’ regular coping mechanisms and contributed to increased isolation and mental health risks. More than one in seven adolescents aged 10 to 19 years old are estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder globally. Another of our Force Multiplier guests, UNICEF, shared the organization’s newest global campaign, #OnYourMind, which is a call for commitment, communication, and action to promote good mental health for every child.
We are proud of the partnerships that Salesforce.org has created with mental-health advocates around the world. And as a storyteller, I’m particularly proud of how we’ve enabled institutions and individuals to share their stories around mental health in the workplace.
Read more about destigmatizing mental health in the workplace, and the importance of starting the mental health conversation.
About the Author
Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer at Salesforce.org