To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Joan Oliver's column “Are we ready to help when we see co-workers struggle?” from May 22. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) McHenry County would like to respond by saying “We are ready to help.”
Mental Illness is not viewed in the same way as physical illness is viewed, even though they are equally connected. Mental illness is an invisible illness that affects individuals with, more or less, the same debilitating effects as a physical illness, making the stigma surrounding mental health hard to break – but not impossible.
To the extent not already in place, we can assist local organizations implement a program addressing mental health challenges by providing support, education and resources not only to the company as a whole as well as to the individual employee. This program would include raising awareness of the signs when a co-worker is struggling as well steps to take when that occurs.
Studies have shown that when employers support employees that are experiencing mental health conditions with empathy, understanding, and resources, employees will feel safe to ask for help, receive the help they need and live more productive lives including in the work place.
NAMI MC suggests investing in evidence-based training such as; Mental Health First Aid, QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) or WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan). NAMI MC offer’s a WRAP class specifically designed for the work environment. Another suggestion would be to include NAMI services as a resource in the company’s Employee Assistance Program.
Here at NAMI MC we offer a variety of services that offers support, education and advocacy to individuals living with mental health challenges and their families and at no cost.
NAMI MC’s vision: A world where mental health and all of its challenges are normal.
Alex Campbell - Executive Director, Phyllis Seyler - Program Manager, Lachell Jeffries-Hanson - Community Outreach Coordinator
NAMI McHenry County