30 Nov LABUR CEO Moves Swiftly to Implement Workplace Anti-Stigma Campaign
“It’s the right thing to do!”
Boston, MA – LABUR in Boston started with “a couple of guys looking to do one thing: business, better.” CEO Darrin Lang knows he couldn’t pull it off without his employees – all 80 of them – if they didn’t have a commitment to the company. Now, Lang is making the commitment to a mentally healthy, more productive work environment for them by signing on to the CEOs Against Stigma campaign, created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Massachusetts (NAMI Mass).
Lang says he understands that mental health conditions are not treated fairly in society.
“This initiative presents a unique opportunity to promote awareness, understanding, and combat the stigmas associated with mental illness.” He calls CEOs Against Stigma, “the right thing to do.”
CEOs Against Stigma began with a grant for an anti-stigma program by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office in 2014. The goal: to employ top-down leadership to change the misconceptions of mental health disorders and to eliminate the stigma that often keeps people from disclosing or seeking treatment for them.
After discovering the campaign on LinkedIn and researching both CEOs Against Stigma and NAMI Mass, Lang’s team moved swiftly to come aboard. After meeting with NAMI Mass in mid-October, Lang signed the pledge encouraging communication and understanding to foster a stigma-free workplace. That pledge is proudly framed and displayed for everyone in the company to see.
Within days, a NAMI In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentation was scheduled for his employees. IOOV is part of the commitment to the campaign and features two people sharing their personal stories of recovery. It has been recognized by a leading researcher as the most effective anti-stigma program in America. More than a dozen LABUR employees attended. After conducting an employee questionnaire, it was clear that the employees were backing the campaign all the way. Lang called the feedback from it, positive. “There were many interesting questions and very healthy dialogue about mental health and how to best approach it with our friends, family, and colleagues.”
IOOV was just one step for Lang in moving forward. He says the company also came up with an idea of having a symbol for people willing to engage with others who need or want someone to talk with someone about mental health conditions. (Lang says it is similar to the LGBTQ SafeZone program) Lang hopes by opening up dialogue, it will allow for a better work environment. Employees will get the help that they need without feeling like it will affect their status with the company. “The goal is to be stigma- and judgment-free regarding mental illness and some early feedback tells us that we are moving in the right direction.”
Lang and his team have embraced CEOs Against Stigma with lightning fast speed because Lang knows that by promoting a stigma-free environment, he is sending a powerful message about the health, harmony and culture of his company. More and more business leaders are beginning to realise the importance of creating a healthy work environment for their employees. For some further information on how crucial this is, you can have a look at a page such as https://thinktanks.io/blogs/blog/your-work-environment-how-is-it-impacting-your-wellbeing to help you learn more.
“Those CEOs and companies who share a common enthusiasm for these principles are remiss if they do not at least consider the material and talk to NAMI directly to learn more about the wonderful cause.”
CEOs Against Stigma is open to any Massachusetts company with 50 or more employees. To learn more about CEOs Against Stigma, log on to ceos.namimass.org.