Mental Health in the Workplace with Michelle E. Dickinson
As we enter the third calendar year affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the mental health cultures of companies across the globe are taking a significant hit. Whether from isolation due to working from home or anxiety concerning returning to the office, many employees are struggling and employers are faced with the challenge of caring for their employees in impactful ways.
Enter Michelle E. Dickinson, TedX Speaker and founder of Trifecta Mental Health. On today's episode Michelle sharing with Dr. Fredrick how her company is assisting employers in reaching their employees and assisting them in their journey toward better mental health during this challenging time.
Key Takeaways from Dr. Fedrick's chat with Michelle:
• Hear how Michelle's background prepared her for her work as a mental health advocate
• Find out how Trifecta Mental Health is bringing mental health tools to the workplace via workshops and trainings
• Learn why mental illness is the most costly type of illness
• Find out about the significant returns on investments in mental health in the workplace
• Hear why many workplace mental health resources go unused and how that can be changed
All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.
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DISCLAIMER: THE CONSULTATIONS OR INTERACTIONS OFFERED ARE NOT MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY. THE CONSULTATION IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND NOT STRUCTURED IN A WAY TO PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING/PSYCHOTHERAPY/THERAPY/ DIAGNOSING OF ANY KIND. YOU UNDERSTAND THAT CALM COOL AND CONNECTED IS NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION AS YOUR TREATING MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR, PHYSICIAN, ATTORNEY, LEGAL COUNSEL, EMPLOYER, MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. We offer no guarantees or promise of results from event nor assume liability for any information provided.
Dr. Fedrick: [00:00:00] Now more than ever. We have an opportunity to be a positive force in the world to help heal the divide, to treat each other and ourselves with respect. Well, there's so many tools out there from meditation to physical training, proper nutrition therapy, and so many others. We all need a little help navigating all the options.
Join us as we share in-depth information, insights and thought provoking discussions that will help answer your questions about how to stay calm, cool, and connected. During these times. Welcome to calm, cooling, connected your guidebook to peace of mind.
Hello and welcome to colon colon connected. I'm your host, Dr.
Elizabeth. Now more than ever. It's suggested that workplace mental health is on the decline with the increase in isolation and working from home. And then coupled with the anxiety and fears about returning to work and the changes in so many of these work environments. This has created a lot of stress overwhelm anxiety
Michelle: for people in the workplace.
Dr. Fedrick: Joining us today is Michelle Dickinson. Michelle is an author [00:01:00] and a TEDx speaker, and she's here today to talk with us about corporate mental wealth. I'm Michelle. Welcome. Hi there.
Michelle: Thanks for me. Thank you so
Dr. Fedrick: much for joining us before we jump in. Let's talk a little bit about yourself and the work that you're doing in this.
Michelle: Sure. Well, I don't know if you want to know why I do the work, but okay. Let me start there. So I grew up with a mother who had bipolar disorder and that experience shaped me and I didn't really ever think about it until I was invited to give a Ted talk about that experience after 20 some years.
So I gave my Ted talk. About my life growing up with my mom and what it was like to care for her, how it affected me, how it shaped me and got really connected to the power of storytelling. And so I went on to write my memoir, breaking into my life as a vehicle to really help people understand mental illness and maybe fear it a little less.
And so I from there decided I wanted to get involved with my company employee resource [00:02:00] group for mental. Because we were creating a stigma free culture. And and so the work I did there really is, is what led me to leave my corporate experience, my corporate job and create my own company to really cause more open conversations about mental health in the workplace and elevate compassion.
So that's really what I get to do now. So, what exactly
Dr. Fedrick: is your current company? What, what do you guy, what services
Michelle: do you provide? Sure. My company is called trifecta mental health, and I work with organizations with HR leaders and business owners to bring resilience. A lot of what you talk about in your, in your work.
It's really about reminding people where they do have power in their life. If we listen to the external investment, It's very easily. We can feel disempowered. So I'm there to remind people, first of all, it's okay to not be okay. Second of all, there's a lot of great things we can be doing every day to preserve our mental health.
So I want to remind people of what they can [00:03:00] do to build that resilience. But then the other piece of it is. Helping leaders understand how to have those conversations, if they sense that their employees are struggling. And that's a very important and powerful workshop that I do to really build confidence and give them the courage to really extend themselves to people that report.
Dr. Fedrick: Okay. Very interesting. So is that a big part of your services is that you provide workshops or
Michelle: exactly? I provide workshops for leaders and also for employees. And I do resilience trainings. I do them over a six month window of time. So we're keeping that conversation alive. It's not just a one and done workshop or you put it on the shelf and walk away.
We want to cultivate that culture of open. The conversation about wellbeing so that people are supportive of one another as we go through the rest of this journey of COVID. Sure. So
Dr. Fedrick: you mentioned that statistics say that mental health illness is the most expensive illness in healthcare. Why do you think that, where, what are your [00:04:00] thoughts
Michelle: around that?
It's largely because if we have people who are not preserving their wellbeing and they're going out on disability, they're losing their jobs. They're potentially there's more turnover. There's disability. So, if we can do a better job of reminding people of how they can preserve their wellbeing, we keep them engaged.
We keep them working and we keep people able to produce the results that we know our leaders want us to produce.
Dr. Fedrick: Yeah, that's such a great point because it's just, you know, overwhelming anxiety, overwhelming depressive symptoms that is debilitating and, and it's impossible to show up and be as productive or even sometimes it's impossible to just show up when.
Mental illness is taking
Michelle: a hit, right? And one of the biggest challenges we have is we have organizations truly want to do the right thing. They provide EAP services, they provide benefits, but if there's still the barrier of an employee, not feeling confident or comfortable reaching out for care, they're not [00:05:00] going to use it.
So that's where the work I do. I really want people to get comfortable. I call myself the bridge. I want you to be comfortable. With brain health and know that it's okay to reach out for support. And there's nothing less about you in doing that. You have great resources, you know,
Dr. Fedrick: Okay. So that's a really good point because you're saying that a lot of companies provide the resource, but then there's this gap in between where, okay.
I know the sources are available, but because of the stigmas or because I don't want HR or my boss to think of me differently, I won't reach out and use it. And so where you come in is you are really working to de-stigmatize and say, It's okay. They're here for a reason to come
Michelle: use them. Exactly.
And if you're still not confident that your confidentiality is going to be kept, I'm also providing you with external resources. There's no reason for you to be struggling alone and be embarrassed and have that preventing you from getting care. Sure.
Dr. Fedrick: And so you also mentioned that a dollar spent investing in mental health [00:06:00] in the workplace has a three to $5 return.
Tell me more about
Michelle: that. Absolutely. And that is, that is huge. When you think about disability costs and you think about what does it take to keep an employee in their seat versus having them go out on temporary disability, go out a long-term disability. The price of turnover when you lose an employee and having to onboard an employee.
So you do the math and that's what it comes out to. So it's really important that we think about the brain as if we would physical health and say, what is it we can do to re empowering our people so that they're staying healthier and they're staying engaged. Yeah. Such
Dr. Fedrick: great points. You created a five steps to cultivating a culture of compassion.
Yeah. Tell me
Michelle: about that. Yeah. So you can find that on my website care for your people.com, there are simple things that organizations can be doing right now, and it doesn't cost money. It's not a lot. It's. First of all, what is your, what is your leadership saying about mental health? [00:07:00] Do you have leaders that are actually promoting the fact that you want to be a stigma free organization?
Do you have. Perhaps feels comfortable being vulnerable about their own story, because that can open a conversation amongst all employees, that it's okay to navigate whatever you're dealing with. It's normal. You can create employee resource groups to really bring and leverage your people to support one another.
And you can create forums where people are willing to tell their story and normalize the next. And you can have policies that you put in place. You could have a remit that you will be a stigma free culture with those policies that back that, that say, you know, these are the, this is how we're going to operate as a business.
So there are simple things that companies can really be.
Dr. Fedrick: That's so helpful and so informative. And, and it's just, you're providing this knowledge, providing this information free of costs. That's like, just get your employees the help that they, that they need. And that is [00:08:00] so important. It's very obvious that you're very passionate about this topic and about this field.
Tell us a little bit about your memoir. Breaking into life jealous what it is and what led you to
Michelle: write it. So it was all from my Ted talk. I was fortunate to be able to give a Ted talk about my mom and the difference that, that, that 10 minute talk gave people in the audience. I said, well, what would happen if I wrote a book and really helped people understand what that experience was like for me?
And so I sat down and I wrote the book, it took me four long years, very cathartic. And I really relived some of those experiences with my mother. So people could really understand what does bipolar look like? Because there are so many people caring for people, or there are people that have no relationship to mental illness.
So I really wanted to educate people and have them understand it so that we can have more compassion. And so that book in 2018 and I'm in the process of recording the audio book of that, because I really want more people to [00:09:00] consume it and really understand the journey. And it also is a story of hope because I want people to also realize that you are not your past, you get to create your future.
Dr. Fedrick: I'm sure. It just makes you so relatable to people as they you're helping them in this field and you're helping to normalize and de-stigmatize for them to see that you have your own experience, as well as you were saying with, you know, leaders who are willing to be vulnerable and how impactful that really can be.
Michelle: such great information. Where can our viewers learn more about you on websites, social media? Sure. You can go to my website care for your people.com. You can follow me on Instagram which is Michelle Dickinson, 71. I have a series called Michelle's conversations that matter where all I'm talking about is mental health and I'm educating people educated.
Us on different diagnosis professionals, and then I'm also having people tell their story so you can follow me on YouTube as well. Michelle's conversations that matter. Awesome. Thank
Dr. Fedrick: you so much, Michelle. I appreciate you being here.
Michelle: Thanks for having.
Dr. Fedrick: And thank you [00:10:00] all for tuning into this episode of calm, cooling, connected.
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