With Suicide Rates Rising Across the US, the HealthlinkNY Community Network’s Work with Mental Health in the Workplace is Becoming Increasingly Relevant

June 25th, 2018 - In 2015, the HealthlinkNY Community Network brought together local stakeholders and individuals throughout our community to identify regional healthcare disparities and find solutions to close those gaps and create better overall population health while lowering healthcare costs. Fast forward to 2018, equipped with a new vision statement of improving health outcomes, increasing the quality of care, and improving the effective and efficient delivery of care, the Community Network is well-poised for another transformative year.

The HealthlinkNY Community Network’s focus on supporting mental health as a top priority in our communities continues to be a critical issue. According to a recent CDC study, “Suicide rates rising across the U.S., suicide rates have increased more than 30% in over 20 states across the country. The study highlights that for over half the people who died by suicide, there was no known diagnosed mental health condition. Issues like relationship problems, substance use, and money concerns were identified as some of the reasons for suicide (“Suicide rates rising across the U.S.,” 2018). Considering this data, the HealthlinkNY Community Network’s focus on supporting mental health in our communities continues to be critical. 

Understanding that stigma surrounding mental health may prevent individuals from seeking help, the Community Network set out to start a conversation on the importance of one’s mental well-being. With Americans spending 40+ hours a week at work, the Community Network developed their Workplace Wellness initiative as a means for employers to promote mental health well-being in the workplace. Through this initiative, employers can learn how to support their employees better, by recognizing the signs of mental distress, understanding the role stigma plays as a barrier to receiving treatment or care and fostering an environment of respect and understanding for the importance of mental well-being. With tools like the company audit, workplace surveys, and in-person pieces of training, the Workplace Wellness program seeks to offer actionable steps to implement mental health programs in the workplace. 

Along with programs focusing on mental health, the Community Network is dedicated to our communities’ physical well-being. That’s why it was important to tie in physical components to the Workplace Wellness initiative. Through this facet of the initiative, employers can connect with local organizations who can provide them with free programs or resources that can assist them in fostering a culture of health in their workplace. These organizations specialize in health, advocacy, wellness committee development, and health policy implementation.

Signing up for the Workplace Wellness initiative couldn’t be easier. When an organization is interested, they visit www.workplacewellnessny.org to download a copy of the toolkit.  A representative from the HealthlinkNY Community Network will follow-up and schedule a time to meet with a representative from the organization to learn more about their needs for a healthier workforce.  From there, the Community Network staff will work with the organization to identify and assist with implementing programs and activities that best fit the employer’s needs.

Since its inception, the Workplace Wellness Program has proven to be an asset with nearly 200 Mental Health Toolkits currently distributed.

If you are interested in learning more about implementing the Community Network’s Workplace Wellness program, please call 844.840.0050 or email community@healthlinkny.com.

In addition to Workplace Wellness Trainings, the Community Network offers an ever-expanding catalog of professional pieces of training and is a New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Approved Education and Training Provider.  Current pieces of training include:

  • Blueprint for Health Equity: An opportunity for professionals in the fields of behavioral health, social services, government, law enforcement, education, healthcare, media, religious organizations, and others, to take a fresh look at the work of their organization through the eyes of the people they serve. This workshop explores the social determinants of health through a racial equity lens.
  • Mental Health First Aid: Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of emerging mental health and substance use crises.
  • Narcan:  This training teaches individuals how to administer Narcan, an opioid antagonist medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose.
  • Our Stories Have Power: This training provides important information to increase the participants’ knowledge of recovery advocacy, the recovery movement, and the language used to eliminate negative public attitudes towards addiction and recovery.
  • SBRIT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment): is an evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, misuse, and dependence, of alcohol and prescription or illicit drugs.
  • Science of Addiction: Looking at addiction as it impacts the brain, its effects on behavior, and how addiction to drugs and alcohol compares to other chronic illnesses. Addiction is a brain disease that can be treated.
If you are interested in any of the above pieces of training please call 844.840.0050 or email community@healthlinkny.com.