How Employees Can Advocate for Better Workplace Mental Health

Fri, 02/26/2021 – 12:16

By Taylor Adams, Director of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) recently released its Mind the Workplace 2021 Report to highlight the mental health challenges that employees across company size and industry have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data is staggering – employees need more mental health supports at work. As an employee, it may feel like you do not have a lot of control over workplace mental health. However, there are things you can do! If you want to help improve mental health in your workplace, here are four ideas to consider:

Understand your workplace culture.

Workplace culture reflects an organization’s missions, values, and norms. Culture also dictates how informed or invested your company is in improving workplace mental health. Does your manager or your coworkers talk about mental health at work? Is leadership receptive to employee feedback? Did your company take employee well-being into account when responding to COVID-19? Would you describe your workplace as toxic with a capital “T”? Asking yourself these questions will help you better understand your company culture and identify the areas that need the most improvement. To help get started, the questions asked in MHA’s Work Health Survey might help you initially frame your company culture.
Listen to and understand your coworkers’ needs.

Need mental health accommodations, not self-care packages? Need benefits that cover mental health services, not a training? There is often a discrepancy between what leaders think employees need and what employees actually need. For example, employers may offer an app to manage stress, but what employees really want is to feel accepted and connected with coworkers. Stress management tools serve an important purpose, but it is more important that the employer understands what tools or supports are needed. If your employer is not taking the initiative to understand employees’ needs, you can kickstart the process by closely listening and learning from your coworkers. Chances are they share many of the same concerns and stressors as you.
Consider joining or establishing an Employee Resource Group for mental health.

Once you understand your company’s culture and specific needs, the next logical step is to organize a group of like-minded people and form an Employee Resource Group (ERG), working group, committee, or team. Recruit members who bring different perspectives, including race, gender, those with lived experience, and different levels within the organization. Focus on integrating mental health support and resources, in addition to bringing awareness within the organization. Opportunities to integrate resources include new hire orientation, management training, or professional development. Coordinate potential activities, responsibilities, and budget with HR and Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if possible. Finally, consider connecting with mental health organizations in your community. Many organizations offer workplace resources and training at little- to no-cost. A great place to start is with MHA’s 200+ Affiliate network.
Connect with leaders who are willing to listen.

A mental health movement can begin with one motivated and compassionate employee. Finding a leader within the organization who is willing to listen can turn thoughts into action. Many organizations have a designated wellness coordinator or HR representative to connect with about your concerns and goals. A place to start may be sharing MHA’s Mind the Workplace 2021 Report. A successful ERG should have the ability to:

request a budget that covers the costs to improve workplace mental health;
outline clear expectations and allocate work hours for ERG’s responsibilities;
provide feedback to upper management about findings or recommendations; and
communicate regularly with management about anticipated changes based on the team’s feedback.

Want to learn more? Please check out the following articles at

How Can Employees Promote Mental Health in the Workplace?
How Can Leadership Support Employees Who Promote Mental Health?

Download the full Mind the Workplace 2021 Report

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The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: