MVP Seminars Blogs

This is not just for Human Resources. Employers need to use an informed approach to help boost employee satisfaction, retention and productivity while protecting the company’s legal and financial interests. It is the biggest economic burden of any health issue in the world and is projected to cost $6 trillion by 2030. Two-thirds of these costs are attributed to disability and loss of work. And yet shockingly, of the 450 million people worldwide who suffer from mental health conditions 60% do not receive any form of care. “Jobs” is the key word in American politics these days. How to get them back from other countries is important, of course, but what about helping companies retain the employees they have by successfully promoting mental wellness in the workplace?      How? Here are four ways: * Prevention: Promote mental health as part of an overall corporate wellness campaign. For example, bring in professionals who specialize in mental health and substance abuse issues to present mandatory, yet interesting educational seminars. That will help reduce the stigma attached to mental and substance abuse disorders. Businesses who have done this reported reduction in health expenses and other financial gains for their organizations. * Awareness: Changes in sleep, mood, appetite, weight, behavior, and personality are caused by many drug addictions and mental health disorders. Other telling symptoms include tardiness, missed deadlines and unexplained or unauthorized absences from work to counter these problems, it is critical that management and HR be given sensitivity training and that professional information and referral resources are readily available. Taking these steps can help employers manage situations before they get out of control. * Work-Life Balance and Accommodations: The Family Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and professionally diagnosed medical reasons, including mental illness or alcohol/substance use disorders. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to assist people with disabilities, including mental health impairments, perform job duties. Employers can help employees with mental health issues by encouraging the use of written checklists, instructions and offering more training time. Sometimes providing a mentor for daily guidance and meeting regularly to discuss progress. * Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs designed to address substance abuse and addictions, as well as personal and family problems, mental health or emotional issues, marital or parenting problems, and financial or legal concerns. EAPs have evolved and grown in popularity during the last 25 years. The number of organizations with an EAP increased from 31% in 1985 to 75% in 2009. Providing a variety of treatment options for an employee will not only help reduce their suffering - it will curtail the incidence of impaired functioning at work. More jobs in America? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, some 60% to 80% of people with mental illness are unemployed. In part, this is the crippling nature of the disease. But a large part of the problem that we have in hiring people who have some mental disorder is that we lack the sophisticated vocabulary to talk and act regarding these illnesses. Managing mental health should hold no fear for managers – whether they realize it or not, they already have many of the skills needed to look after their employees’ well being. Sometimes all it takes is an open mind. Mental health is the mental and emotional state in which we feel able to cope with the normal stresses of everyday life. If we are feeling good about ourselves we often work productively, interact well with colleagues and make a valuable contribution to our team or workplace. The good news is that line managers already have many of the skills needed to promote positive mental health at work. They are usually well-versed in the importance of effective communication and consultation, and the need to draw up practical workplace policies and procedures. Add to these skills an open mind and a willingness to try and understanding mental health problems, and organizations can make real progress in tackling the stigma often associated with mental health. “The problem with the stigma around mental health is really about the stories that we tell ourselves as a society. What is normal? That’s just a story that we tell ourselves.” -- Matthew Quick (Author of The Silver Linings Playbook) Invest in your employee training and development by offering Business Training Seminars that produce tangible results.  
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Remember when the rule in the military about gays serving was “don’t ask, don’t tell”?  Now that gay men and women serve openly in the armed services, the rule seems to apply to workers who have major depression or another mood disorder.  “Jim” (not his real name) called me recently about his struggle with major depression and how his employer treated him after he disclosed it to his supervisor. “Jim” is retired military and currently works as a civilian contractor for one of the service branches. “I can’t concentrate,” he told me, “and I have to miss a lot of work.”  Jim” said in order to keep his job he decided to tell his supervisor that his frequent absences were due to depression and he was going to get help.  “I didn’t get much sympathy,” he said, “in fact my flight authorizations were stopped, which had an impact on my job because it requires a lot of traveling.”  Why were his flight authorizations cancelled? Maybe the boss thought “Jim” would hijack the plane or bomb it to commit suicide and still get life insurance for his family.  Instead of helping a hard-working, experienced employee, the supervisor hurt not only the employee but also the company they both serve. There are two lessons to learn from this story: 1. Negative disclosure consequences could have been avoided had the employer implemented a mental health friendly workplace beginning with educating all supervisors about mental illness; 2. “Jim” needed his own education about depression, too. He had avoided seeing a psychiatrist his primary care doctor recommended perhaps out of fear of more stigma. He didn’t say. “Jim” chose to disclose and get help to restore his productivity, but the supervisor did what far too many supervisors do by stigmatizing him. According to one study conducted by Dr. Carolyn Dewa, Psychiatry professor at the University of Toronto, one-third of workers would hide mental health problems from their manager, with many worried about how it would affect their careers. The survey also found that 64% of people said they would be ‘concerned’ about the performance of a co-worker with mental health problems. Nevertheless, research suggests that workers with a mental health issue perform better if they disclose the issue than if they hide it.  Being honest with managers, for instance, will help to explain absences for treatment, which may be difficult to account for otherwise. Should you disclose your depression? First, ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish by telling your boss, advises Clare Miller, the director of the American Psychiatric Foundation’s Partnership for Workplace Mental Health. The program helps employers develop effective approaches to mental health. For instance, disclosure may be in your best interest if you need special accommodations to do your job, such as the option of starting later in the day because you're on a new medication that makes you sleepy in the morning or taking sick leave if you are having a particularly tough time emotionally. “Disclosure is probably also a good idea if depression if causing your job performance to suffer noticeably”, said Miller. "But try to do it early in the game as opposed to waiting until you get a bad performance review," she added.  Another important consideration for self-disclosure is the atmosphere of your workplace.  Stigma isn’t as bad as it used to be, but it still exists. Former Chairman and President of Highsmith Inc, now part of Demco), employed only 1,000 people, but he implemented a plan to address the mental health of his employees to retain them and keep them productive. The company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP)  provides tools to balance an employee’s work and life. The EAP provides an orientation session for new employees that includes a class called “First Aid Kit for the Mind,” which describes signs of mental illnesses, stress, and substance use disorders and how to maintain mental fitness. An Intranet section that links employees to information on depression and anxiety, relationships, and domestic abuse. Another section, “Leader’s Edge,” features resources for line managers, including “Your Role and the EAP.”  Highsmith strived to make mental health on a par with physical health.  Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability among adults 15 to 44 years old, affecting nearly 7 percent of adults in the U.S. each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Depression causes an estimated $23 billion in lost productivity in the U.S. each year. " Thirty-four percent of lost productivity is caused by depression and stress disorders, yet 86% of employees with stress or depression prefer to suffer in silence and businesses pay the price,” according to Graeme Cowan, author of  Back from the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder (New Harbinger Publications 2013).  Depression disclosure in the workplace is a matter of dollars and cents. It makes good sense, too, but it is a two-way street between employee and employer.  
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Hello again! Last week we were talking about the EEOC's new rules about Employee Wellness Programsemployee wellness hrwatchdog.com under the ADA.  We defined "wellness programs", then we talked about how the ADA applied. We learned that while you can ask health-related questions and require participants to undergo medical examinations, you cannot require employees to participate in the wellness program. We also touched on the interplay with HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act. (Click here for review or if you missed that post.)  But wait there's more. Let's get back to it then-- Click here to read the entire post on The EmpLAWyerologist...
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Rob Lachenauer, the CEO and a co-founder of Banyan Family Business Advisors, wrote in the Harvard Business Review:
 “The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prevents employers from discriminating against people who have a mental illness, but my experience as a consultant at a very large strategy firm whose clients are giant corporations had been that if someone admitted that he or she struggled with depression or mental illness, that would often be career suicide. Indeed, a former vice president of a major investment banking firm, when told about this blog, warned me against publishing it: ‘Clients are afraid to work with firms that have mentally ill people on the professional staff.’ “
Is non-discrimination toward anyone with a mental illness the last great struggle for equality? I have two neurological disorders, for example, that affect my work-related skills. One is a physical disability caused by multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system. It left me vision-impaired and with cognitive limitations that that left me with an inability to learn new skills and bipolar disorder, which is a genetic mental illness and affects mood, concentration and interpersonal relationships. People with MS do not face the same discrimination as one with a mental illness. They are afforded reasonable accommodations to help them succeed in their job assignment. People with MS are not victimized by stigma; mental illness victims face stigma in all areas of their lives and when it affects their livelihood it is understandable why they are reticent about letting employers know they need specific accommodations to succeed.
“Today, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, some 60% to 80% of people with mental illness are unemployed. In part, this is the crippling nature of the disease. But a large part of the problem that we have in hiring people who have some mental disorder is that we lack the sophisticated vocabulary to talk and act regarding these illnesses” Rob Lachenauer wrote.
The definition of disability under the ADA was expanded by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 to: (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Major life activities also include major bodily functions, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
Over the past decade, we have all noticed the increasing impact of mental ill health in the workplace. Stress, anxiety and depression, albeit not all work-related, have led to higher rates of absenteeism and lost productivity due to presenteeism (working while sick).
Managing mental health should hold no fear for managers – whether they realize it or not, they already have many of the skills needed to look after their employees’ wellbeing. Sometimes all it takes is an open mind. Mental health is the mental and emotional state in which we feel able to cope with the normal stresses of everyday life. If we are feeling good about ourselves we often work productively, interact well with colleagues and make a valuable contribution to our team or workplace. The good news is that line managers already have many of the skills needed to promote positive mental health at work. They are usually well-versed in the importance of effective communication and consultation, and the need to draw up practical workplace policies and procedures. Add to these skills an open mind and a willingness to try and understanding mental health problems, and organizations can make real progress in tackling the stigma often associated with mental health.
Here is the dilemma faced by all of us with a mental illness trying to get and keep a job: "From the outside looking in, it's hard to understand. From the inside looking out, it's hard to explain."
Until the perception of mental illness changes, nothing changes.
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Do you offer your employees a wellness plan? If so did you know that it has to comply with GINA requirements? Wait who is GINA? Do we know her? Should we? In this case, GINA is not a who but a what. We are not talking about your next door neighbor, best friend, cousin, or co-worker. GINA is the GeneGINAwakeuptowellnesstoday.comtic Information Nondiscrimination Act. It prohibits discrimination in insurance and employment based on genetic information. So how do you make sure your wellness program complies with GINA?  Click here to read the entire post on The EmpLAWyerologist...
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One of the lions of American history was our 16th President Abraham Lincoln. He was a man of sorrows suffering from frequent bouts of depression since he was a young man in rural Illinois. In 1862, Lincoln wrote in a condolence letter to a friend whose Father had died: “In this sad world of ours sorrow comes to all, and to the young it comes with bittered agony because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to expect it.” “Not only did Abraham Lincoln suffer from serious episodes of depression, but he also tried to give advice to others he knew were suffering. Lincoln's depressions, whether they lasted for hours, days, weeks, or months always came to an end. Knowing this, he could encourage others. It would seem his own experience led him to believe that depression was not a permanent condition,” according to Joshua Wolf Shenk author of Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness. Lincoln, like many of the Millennial generation in today’s workforce, suffered from great insecurity as young man. Some believe it was because he was a homely man from a poor family while others think his strained relationship with a cold and distant father fueled the insecurity and depressions. New research by British psychologists has labeled it the “Quarter-life Crisis”.  It is a time when educated 20- and 30- somethings are most likely hit by pre-midlife blues. If you are a company owner or manager, these are many of your new-hires. They are the Millennials –a person reaching adulthood around 2000. When I was their ages, I carried my Draft Card in my back pocket and lived through my undergraduate years in fear of having to go to fight in the Vietnam War if I failed my college courses.  It was also a time of the onset of my mental illness with major depressions initially that repeatedly paralyzed me and filled my head with thoughts of suicide. It was 23 years later that I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I didn’t get professional help because of the stigma attached to mental illness. I’m a Baby Boomer and the Millennials and I share a common history.  Instead of fearing the Draft and being sent to an unpopular and losing war, the Millennials have feared the uncertainty of whether there will be a job when they graduate and how they are going to pay off their mounting student loans. You know by now that one in four of us will suffer from a mental health issue at some time in our lives. You may not know that seven out of 10 managers has managed someone with a diagnosed or suspected mental illness, according to a study by the Mental Health Foundation in Great Britain. As I wrote in a previous blog post, most workers hide their mental illness finding it safer to observe the unspoken don’t ask don’t tell rule. How do you help a colleague who you know is suffering from a mental illness such as clinical depression? Unless you have personal experience with depression, it is very hard to know what to say. Unless you have a lot of patience, you may give up trying to help, which can lead to termination of your employee.One manager shared her experience: "My team member suffered from stress over a period of approximately six months. …able to be in work, with occasional time off, the stress affected their performance and eventually they decided to leave the business. When I asked them if they felt we could have done anything differently, the only suggestion was the option of counselling. I fed this back to the management team to look at what we can do in the future." It all begins with reducing stress in the high-pressure competitive world of business. Companies should be educating managers and all employees on how to reduce stress such as the program offered by Kelly Wellness Consulting I cited in an earlier blog post. Reducing stress or educating our teams on how to manage stress is a worthwhile investment for all businesses. 50% of long term absences are due to mental ill health - this is more common than back pain, and there are simple ways for a business, no matter how small to get the basics right. One easy step is to publish links to support and guidance and having a mental health policy. “Stress can be defined as the way you feel when you’re worried about being able to cope. A moderate level of stress can better your performance by enabling you to respond to challenging situations, such as presentations or interviews. However, excessive or prolonged stress can lead to mental or physical health problems, which is why symptoms of stress must be tackled early,” explained  Dr. Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation. Over 80% of the lost productive time costs are explained by reduced performance while at work, not work absence. Annual cost to American businesses reduced productivity is $35.7 billion, according to a study by the American Psychiatric Foundation. (See my post Mental Health and Productivity Are Your Employees Present and Accounted For? ) There’s a progressive effort in Scotland called See Me Scotland. According to a survey by the organization of 1,165 workers found 55 per cent thought that people would be unlikely to disclose a mental illness because it could result in being passed over for promotion or moved to another post. Additionally, only 22 per cent thought that their co-workers had a good understanding of the importance of employee mental health. However, 83 per cent said they would want a better understanding if their colleague was experiencing mental health problems. Stigma and discrimination in the workplace is a major issue and these figures show there is a significant problem with people being able to speak openly about mental health. The cost to Scottish employers by not properly supporting employees with mental health conditions is considerable, approximately 1.5 Billion (U.S.) a year. See Me says employers have a legal and moral responsibility to look after the health and wellbeing of everyone who works for them and it is important they know how staff are being treated. “At See Me we want to change the cultures of workplaces in Scotland, so people can feel safe in speaking openly about their mental health.” To do this the organization launched the See Me in Work program. Through it See Me is engaging with employers and supporting them in making changes to their work practices, to improve the working lives of employees with mental health problems. It encourages an equal and fair recruitment process and ensures those returning to work following ill-health are fully supported. “It's very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.” --Thich Nhat Hanh            
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Belly Fat Inferno Couple

TOSTADA.TACODSC_3659_503JAN 2014 - Copy

Dr. Steve’s Top 3 Fat-Burning and Health-Rejuvenating Super Foods

Hi Dr. Steve here. My passion is to help you Lose Weight and Get Healthy quickly and easily so you can Look and Feel Great!

I have found that one of the best ways to Lose Weight and rejuvenate your health is to eat lots and lots of plants.

And if you know which plants to eat, you can get all the protein you need to build lean muscle. Plus you will get all the right kinds of low-glycemic carbs to assure a steady source of fuel and energy for all the cells of your body.

So I’m often asked which plants are the best fat-burning and healthiest foods to eat.

Many of you know that I’m in my mid-sixties and have the body and health of people half my age-So I feel very qualified to answer that question.

I will give you the answer shortly and tell you what I do to stay so lean healthy and fit even in my sixties. But first-just for fun- let’s “play pretend” for a minute.

So let’s pretend I have a situation like this. Sailing to Hawaii, a storm hits and my boat is disabled. I abandon ship, hop on my raft and drift to a deserted island.

Now suddenly I find myself hungry and ship-wrecked –Aw cr..p I say! I’m stuck on a rock in the middle of the ocean!

Now the good news is that I had just found a magic lamp-Yay-what luck!

To keep things interesting let’s also pretend there’s fresh water on the island but nothing to eat.

So you know how the Genie and the Magic Lamp story goes-You rub the lamp, the Genie pops out, and you get 3 wishes…

…Oh and the hard part is you only get one thing per wish…so you don’t want to blow it!

Ok so remember: I’m stranded on this rock for who knows how long, I’m starving my butt off I need to preserve muscle strength and energy so maybe-just maybe I can make a swim for it and get off the darn rock!

So given those conditions, wish number one is going to be “Please Mr. Genie Sir… …Give me all the spinach I can eat!”

Huh??? Uh…wait a minute you say-Why spinach?

Well it turns out Popeye was right-this dark green leafy low-glycemic veggie is actually chock full of heart protective, anti-aging, diabetes reversing and cancer preventive vitamins, minerals, and flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants.

Also high in folate spinach blocks the effects of homocysteine- a dangerous by-product of animal protein consumption.

Ok-Still with me?

So what do you think Wish number 2 would be? If you guessed peas, you guessed right!

Why peas? Well turns out that peas have a low glycemic index (the good carbs) are low in fat and excellent for weight management. 3 cups of peas has less than 300 calories but delivers to your body a ton of healthy fiber and micronutrients to prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Peas are also one of the greatest sources of plant based protein. There are an amazing 24 grams of protein in just 3 cups-that is the same amount of protein you get from a chicken breast. Peas contain high amounts of anti-aging, cancer preventing, immunity fortifying and anti-inflammatory antioxidants, including: • flavonoids like catechin and epicatechin • carotenoids • phenolic acids like ferulic and caffeic acid • and powerful polyphenols like coumestrol • vitamin C and vitamin E, and a good amount of the antioxidant mineral zinc • omega-3 fat in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

And the list goes on!

Other benefits of peas in your diet are: Prevention of wrinkles, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, bronchitis, osteoporosis and candida.

Finally for reversing diabetes peas are at the top of my list. Peas’ high fiber and protein slows down how fast sugars are digested.

Their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents prevent or reverse insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes). All peas’ carbohydrates are low-glycemic natural sugars and starches.

Al-righty then-pretend now we are down to the last wish-I’m no longer hungry but variety is good and I want to stay super healthy and fit so I can swim the 200 miles back to the mainland.

… or maybe just a few miles out to the shipping lanes to be rescued!

Okie-dokie-one wish left-What shall it be?

So my third wish would be for …wait for it…

…Almonds….. Almonds???

And why almonds you might ask?

Almonds are one of my top 3 superfoods because they are an excellent source of all 3 powerful and necessary macronutrients:

1. low glycemic fiber-rich carbs

2. the right kind of fats (omega 3s and 6s)

3. plant-based protein

The benefits of nuts-almonds, pistachios, and walnuts in particular-include a much reduced incidence of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Plus almonds will provide plenty of energy and good calories if you’re stuck on a deserted island or anywhere else and in need for a quick healthy and satisfying snack.

In short, these 3 super foods happen to be at the top of my list because they provide a whole slew of powerful phyto-nutrients and a great balance of macro-nutrients to keep you healthy lean and fit.

At the same time eating them consistently means you will burn serious fat off your belly and anywhere else it likes to hang out-I promise!

So here’s to the core of your abundance-your health!

Live Long, Live Well, Stay Lean

Signature Dr Steve

Lose Weight Fast and Look & Feel Amazing at:  Belly Fat Inferno.com

Reverse Disease and Decline and Stop Aging at: Dr Steve Master of Health and Wellness

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The new buzzword in Corporate America is “EI”—Emotional Intelligence. It relates directly to my mission in helping companies assist their employees who may have a mental illness or face substance abuse issues. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. What is the business payoff? According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ “...emotional intelligence accounts for 80 percent of career success.”  “EI” embraces three skills: 1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others; 2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving; 3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person. Emotional intelligence is positively and significantly related to mental health. There is growing evidence that emotional abilities are a relevant predictor of health and well-being. An MIT study concluded “Both ordinary unhappiness and clinical disorders may follow from poor understanding and management of one’s own emotions. In everyday life, misunderstanding others’ feelings, lashing out impulsively in challenging situations, and failing to engage positively with others may all lead to stress and avoidable unhappiness.” Is your workplace mental  health-safe to boost the “EI” of your employees?  “Promoting good mental health  in the workplace could be one of the most important steps an employer could take to improve an organization” according to Forbes magazine. Whether you like him or not, Donald Trump summarized it best: “It’s important to focus on the solution, not the problem.” “It's amazing how once the mind is free of emotional pollution, logic and clarity emerge.”  --Clyde DeSouzaMemories With Maya    
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What is the secret? It is mental illness. One in four Americans will be mentally ill at some point in their lifetime. It is a neurobiological disease that affects the way people think and behave. The good news is that it is treatable. Left untreated, however, they are among the most disabling and destructive illnesses known to humankind. More than 60 percent of employers surveyed say the stigma surrounding mental-health issues in the workplace has either stayed the same or increased. What can HR do to help reverse this troubling trend? The costs of mental ill-health for individuals, employers and society at large are enormous. Mental illness is responsible for a very significant loss of potential labor supply, high rates of unemployment, and a high incidence of sickness absence and reduced productivity at work. “In the beginning was the Word,” according to a verse in the Bible. It is not a religious approach to mental illness in the workplace I suggest, but rather an educational approach. Written materials in the hands of each employee, posted on bulletin boards, company email, blogs, web sites and workshops for supervisors are small investments to make in avoiding very expensive problems. Most employers offer an “orientation” for their new employees. The information presented includes details about health insurance plans, breaks, vacations, chain of command, etc. Why not include a section about mental health? Present a plan that demonstrates to every new employee that the company is mentally-heath safe with supervisors who have received specific training on how to help an employee struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or other conditions. The supervisors are not trained to be therapists, but rather make sure the employee knows what resources are available such as Employee Assistance Programs and can encourage the employee to get help. The supervisor monitors any sign of stigma such as jokes, isolating anyone known as one with a mental illness. Such reactions are common when people are brave enough to admit they have a mental health problem, and they can often lead on to various forms of exclusion or discrimination – either within social circles or within the workplace. The fear of stigma keeps many people from getting treatment. It is the dirty little secret that is never brought out into the light. It can affect how an employee gets help before it is too late for them and for the bottom line of their employer.
“On top of this toll in money and human pain, mental illness is among the more difficult workplace problems to tackle head-on. Unlike most other diseases, it is one that many sufferers choose to leave untreated even when treatment is available. For them, the promise of some relief competes with the fear of being stigmatized because they seek help.” – Tom Gray Achieve Solutions
   
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When we talk about a safe environment in schools we must include discussions about creating and maintaining an atmosphere in schools where ALL children can feel free to be themselves and learn most effectively at their own pace. The most effective way school administration and staff can achieve this goal is by eradicating bullying that impacts millions of children negatively around the country. And this impact is often a daily reminder for the victims of bullying that their school environment is certainly not a safe place where you can look forward to growing and learning without any threats from anyone. It is well known that a strong emotional health and a positive self-image are some of the key ingredients for academic success. It is not at all a difficult concept – if a child is concerned about having to deal with bullying on a regular basis, it is simply not possible for the child to focus on the academic aspects of school life. Many schools do have programs in place that discourage bullying, and that is certainly a good thing. Many of the programs also focus on prevention, but very few truly focus on the root of the problem. That is why training for school administrators, educators and support staff must include understanding of the root of the problem at a very early stage. The school staff needs to understand that their enormous efforts in trying to educate children is wasted when a significant number of students, who could otherwise do well in academics, end up with devastating long term impacts because of bullying.
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