This post is based off of the following article: https://www.fastcompany.com/90350127/why-every-business-leader-should-care-about-childhood-mental-health
If you’re at work and have a child who is not well or in crisis it impacts your ability to be totally productive. Writes Gale King, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
As much as we try to, we cannot escape what is happening at home when we go to work.
Gale adds, “While it would be ideal for employees to be able to focus solely on their work when they’re at the office, that’s not necessarily realistic—if an associate’s child is struggling with any type of illness, it is sure to remain on their mind throughout the day.”
Gale’s volunteer experience with a suicide hotline, combined with her company’s commitment to its employees, is what sparked its support for Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s “On Our Sleeves” campaign. Founded in Columbus, Ohio, Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the United States. The On Our Sleeves campaign is a movement to change the mental health of children and youth, something that is commonly overlooked, underfunded, and misunderstood.
King emphasizes the importance of openly talking about mental health in the workplace to help remove the stigma commonly associated with it. “We believe when we create an environment where our associates can receive the information, resources, and support they need, both professionally and personally, it enhances their effectiveness at work and their engagement to the company.”
Dr. Nancy Cunningham, Director of Programs and Administration for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, explains that On Our Sleeves was developed to give children and youth a voice when it comes to their mental health, as not all young people are equipped with the vocabulary to explain what they are experiencing. She adds, “It’s also about mobilizing others to take action within their scope of influence: businesses, schools, and government. It’s about getting all of us to advocate on behalf of kids.”
The goal for Gale is to create an environment at Nationwide that normalizes the dialogue surrounding mental health, as well as providing mental health awareness and support for her employees. “The more we can talk about our support, the more our associates know how they may be able to solicit that support.”