Austen Riggs CEO Joins Fight Against Top Cause of Workplace Disability

Austen Riggs CEO Joins Fight Against Top Cause of Workplace Disability

Healthcarenews.com

STOCKBRIDGE — Dr. Andrew Gerber, medical director and CEO of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, has signed the pledge to become a CEO Against Stigma, taking his commitment to mental health for everyone another step further.

By signing on to the campaign, created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass), Gerber aims to demonstrate that a stigma-free work environment for his 142 employees and their families is a priority. The Austen Riggs Center was named one of the nation’s best hospitals in psychiatry in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

“Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a key priority for the Austen Riggs Center,” he said. “We share with NAMI the common goal of serving those with mental-illness needs. This new initiative emphasizes our additional shared commitment to ensuring mental wellness within our organization, which is vital for both our individual employees and for those in the community we serve.”

CEOs Against Stigma — which is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office — partners with leaders across Massachusetts to implement top-down changes to create healthier, more productive workplaces where employees feel safe disclosing any mental-health conditions about themselves or a family member. Mental-health conditions — including depression and anxiety — affect one in five adults and are the number-one cause of workplace disability.

“Mental illness is the single greatest cause of lost productivity at work. Employees are unlikely to share their burden, despite the impact on their own effectiveness at work,” said NAMI Berkshire County Executive Director Brenda Carpenter. “Austen Riggs is a proven leader in the treatment of mental-health conditions. Through their participation in CEOs Against Stigma, Austen Riggs employees can broaden their awareness to encompass their co-workers, family, and friends.”

One critical component of the campaign involves bringing NAMI’s “In Our Own Voice” (IOOV) presentations into the workplace. Recognized by a leading national mental-health researcher as the most effective anti-stigma program in America, IOOV presentations feature two people sharing their personal stories of recovery.

In addition to providing IOOV, Austen Riggs will make employees aware of its health and welfare benefits to make sure that they are welcoming and effective in addressing mental-health issues.

CEOs Against Stigma is working to secure the commitment of 250 chief executives and reach a half-million employees. Any Massachusetts company with at least 50 employees can join. For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, visit ceos.namimass.org. To contact NAMI Berkshire County, call (413) 443-1666 or e-mail namibc@namibc.org.

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