Transparency and language are key to reducing stigma
One of the biggest reasons that people who need mental health care don't get it is that they're afraid of stigma and discrimination. Stigma is a negative attitude or belief system about people with certain characteristics (like having a mental health condition). Discrimination is acting on those beliefs and treating those people differently.
By practicing transparency and using accurate, respectful language, you can help to shift the attitudes that lead to stigma and discrimination. Ultimately, this can help your employees feel more comfortable with the idea of getting mental health treatment, leading to a more mentally well workforce.
Using Person-First Language
Check out our person-first language info sheet below to get started on using inclusive, respectful language to talk about those with mental health challenges.
The 5 Elements of Transparency and Language
- Intention: Mental health is discussed intentionally by workplace leaders in an effort to combat stigma
- Frequency: Mental health issues are discussed with equal frequency as other health issues like fitness, back pain, and flu season precautions
- Accuracy: Information about mental health conditions, mental health benefits, and legal rights are given completely and accurately
- Respect: Employers model respectful, non-discriminatory language when discussing mental health and encourage employees to do the same
- Exchange: Employers and employees enjoy free exchange of ideas to improve workplace mental wellness
More information about these five areas is coming soon. In the mean time, check out the following resources:
- Job Accommodation Network's Searchable Online Accommodation Resource: A free database of accommodation ideas for all types of disabilities, including mental health conditions. A great tool for starting the conversation about how you can become a more accommodating employer for those with mental health conditions.
- Vanderbilt Work/Life Connections: Talking about Mental Health in the Workplace
- Harvard Health Publications: Mental health problems in the workplace
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Fact Sheet Library
- American Psychological Association Data on behavioral health in the United States
- Mental Health America: Depression in the Workplace
- Mental Health America Infographic: Life with Depression
- Mental Health America Infographic: Life in Recovery