Mental Health-Friendly Workplace
Hood College recognizes the importance of building and sustaining a work environment in which physical and mental health are priorities for our faculty and staff. Physical, mental and social well-being are three vital interconnected components of overall health. In particular, our mental or emotional health is important in being able to
- Establish and maintain fulfilling relationships;
- Participate in productive life activities, including our careers;
- Cope with adversity;
- Adapt to changing environments; and
- Demonstrate resilience in managing the many challenges that we encounter throughout our lifetimes.
Promoting a Healthy Work Environment
The College is committed to supporting initiatives that promote our employees mental well-being through a multi-pronged approach. This multiple level strategy includes:
- Declaration of mental health wellness as an organizational value;
- Assessment of negative workplace environmental issues;
- Development of strategies to improve our workplace environment,
- Integration of health care plans to promote individual assessment and appropriate treatment at earliest point of contact;
- Awareness of mental health issues and resources;
- Sensitivity to barriers (such as stigma and shame) surrounding mental health issues and the seeking of treatment; and
- Empathy and support for employees and/or their loved ones experiencing mental health issues.
Although work can be fundamental to people’s happiness, the workplace can be a major factor in exacerbating mental health issues for employees. Studies have shown that many negative work environment related issues have an adverse impact on an organization’s bottom line and on employees themselves. These work-related issues contribute to increased direct and indirect costs associated with the mental and physical conditions that result from an unhealthy work environment. Hood College is committed to identifying and rectifying as much as possible negative workplace issues to promote a healthy work environment.
Benefits and Program Review
As part of our efforts, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of all programs and benefit plans to provide the optimum value to our employees. The integration of these plans will help to better support efforts to improve and sustain mental health at the College. We will need to continuously review our policies and seek feedback to assure that we are working on building a culture that accepts the reality of the prevalence of mental health issues today and, just as important, understands the current level of success that treatment is having with many mental health issues.
As part of our Human Resources strategy, we are providing a comprehensive online resource for employees to use to address the myriad of life challenges that they face today. Life Support, an important resource for employees, will provide instant access to up-to-date information on a variety of topics. Many mental health issues and available resources can be found by visiting our Life Support Web page.
M. Scott Peck said in "The Road Less Traveled" that "life is difficult." Later, in "Further Along the Road Less Traveled," he amended this statement to be "life is complex." This level of complexity has both positive and negative implications. The plethora of issues in today’s world brings many levels of new and existing challenges. However, the new understanding of the brain and our emotional makeup brings about better strategies for handling the new level of complexity and promoting our mental well-being. That being said, there is still a long way to go and we are asking that you travel on this road with us to nurture one another in a workplace where everyone can thrive!