In the past few years, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have been having conversations about worker mental health.
Just this week, “federal employees…union leaders, EAP vendors, and mental health experts and advocates” as well as “Representatives from the Domestic Policy Council, Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs” gathered at the White House for a roundtable discussion on this topic, according to a news release.
These attendees addressed multiple topics, including those where change is needed, such as the stigma around mental health, stress and supports, per the news release.
“Mental health-friendly workplaces can have an important positive impact on workers’ lives, and this certainly includes those of federal employees,” said Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn Williams in the news release.
Some agencies spoke on more specific topics. The DOL talked about its Mental Health at Work Initiative, and the OPM—which recently published an Employee Wellness Program guidance—addressed Employee Assistance Programs.
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“Employee Wellness Programs are an essential part of supporting our workforce,” said Rob Shriver, OPM Deputy Director, in the news release. “These programs give leaders at all levels the tools and resources they need to promote and sustain well-being. We know that EAPs play an important role in minimizing negative stigmas around seeking mental health treatment and foster supportive and safe workplaces.”
Earlier this week, the DOL also released a public service announcement titled “Mental Health at Work.”