Business and Public Health Leaders Call for Stronger Action on Workplace Mental Health

Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan joined CDC Foundation President and CEO Judy Monroe, MD, and other top business and public health leaders today to detail solutions from corporate America capable of addressing the current crisis in workplace mental health, at the first-ever Workplace Mental Health Action Summit.

At the Summit, co-hosted by the Health Action Alliance and Mental Health Action Day—in partnership with the Ad Council, One Mind At Work, SHRM Foundation and the American Psychological Association (APA)—organizers released an all-new suite of resources to help employers create their own employee mental health action plans. The new Workplace Mental Health Playbook and Communications Tools are built on the latest expert insights and include ‘pro tips’ from more than a dozen major employers.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and recent polling from the APA shows that the COVID-19 pandemic and other national and world events are adding to an unprecedented mental health crisis among U.S. adults—with a disproportionate impact on communities of color and young people—and contributing to worker shortages, high rates of turnover and burnout.

In the face of these challenges, today’s Workplace Mental Health Action Summit spotlighted leading actions that companies are taking to strengthen psychological safety at work, improve access to mental health benefits, and center equity in their mental health strategy.

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In addition to Mr. Moynihan and Dr. Monroe, featured Summit speakers included Tinisha Agramonte, Chief Diversity Officer, Motorola; Maysa Akbar, PhD, Chief Diversity Officer, American Psychological Association; Chris Clermont, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Vox Media; George Demos, Chief People Officer, O’Melveny; Malcom Glenn, Senior Equity Advisor, Health Action Alliance; Cathryn Gunther, Global Head of Associate Health & Wellbeing, Mars; Shelie Gustafson, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Jacobs; Craig Kramer, Global Mental Health Ambassador, Johnson & Johnson; Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); Lars Minns, Chief Human Resources Officer, Mercedes-Benz; Lisa Sherman, President & CEO, Ad Council; Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President of Social Impact Strategy at MTV Entertainment Group; and Daryl Tol, Executive Vice President, One Mind.

“The business community is in a powerful position to advance mental well-being by reducing work-related causes of mental health stress, creating psychologically safer workplaces and making it easier for employees to access professional care,” said Stephen Massey, Director of Health Action Alliance and Co-Founder of Meteorite. “Companies who have shared their innovative actions in these areas have helped show that taking action to address workplace mental health is also a clear path to a thriving workforce and a stronger, more resilient business.”

“MTV is thrilled to be among this highly esteemed group of organizations and companies that share our commitment to mental health and see the urgency to take action now to provide solutions for the mental health crisis in the workplace,” said Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President of Social Impact, MTV Entertainment Group. “When we recognize that mental health is health, we have an opportunity to demystify, destigmatize and normalize conversations in the workplace that can not only transform how we work today, but also how future generations entering the workforce prioritize their mental health.”

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on people’s mental health, which will require a serious and long-term commitment from across society to address,” said Judy Monroe, MD, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “The business community is in a powerful position to help meet this public health challenge, and I’m very encouraged to see a robust response from employers to supporting workers’ needs.”

“Given the challenges of the past few years, it’s critical that our employees and teammates have the support they need for their personal well-being within the workplace,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “We’re honored to be part of the Health Action Alliance and contribute to the Workplace Mental Health Action Summit by sharing and learning from our peers on how to center mental health within our workplace culture.”

“One Mind is honored to participate in this Summit and partner with other extraordinary leaders in the field working diligently to improve the well-being of workers on a global scale,” said Daryl Tol, Executive Vice President, One Mind. “As there is no one-size-fits-all solution for addressing the mental health of employees across industries, these discussions around different resources and tools are critical in helping companies tailor the best approach for their own teams.”

“The importance of putting the mental wellness of our employees first cannot be underscored enough,” said SHRM Foundation President Wendi Safstrom. “HR professionals can play an important role in the lives of their employees by assisting them in finding the resources they need while simultaneously reducing stigma.”

“Research shows that organizations with high levels of diversity perform better, especially when management and senior leadership have diverse representation. And those leaders can provide tools and resources to their employees that enhance their equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and knowledge to foster a workplace culture of inclusivity,” said Maysa Akbar, PhD, Chief Diversity Officer, the American Psychological Association.

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