Did you know 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience a mental health condition each year? On September 10, the nation recognizes World Suicide Prevention Day to raise awareness and fight the stigma around mental health. This year’s theme is Creating Hope Through Action. As a company, Unum provides support and addresses this urgent need through mental wellbeing resources for employees and community partnership.
Community Partnerships: Improving Mental Health Awareness in Our Neighborhoods
If you haven’t heard of the Yellow Tulip Project, you may be surprised to know they focus on mental health in youth. Through the Healthier Communities Program and a grant to the Yellow Tulip Project, Unum will donate $3 million over three years to support those disproportionately at risk to adverse health outcomes.
Unum also made donations to the True Athlete Project and Pursuit of Happiness for Undeserved and Under-Resourced Youth, as well as funded Lexington Medical Center’s SafeSide Primary Care Suicide Prevention Training for physicians in South Carolina.
A Global Effort: Mental Health First Aides
Research shows more than one-third (37 percent) of workers had stress-related absences over the past year. For the past three years, Unum facilitated special training for more than 120 U.S. employees to become Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA). They provide confidential support to colleagues in need of mental health resources.
Employees volunteer to be a MHFA for a variety of reasons. Amy Arnold, manager of Client Liaison said, “As a child growing up in a home plagued by mental health issues, I witnessed firsthand what an environment that lacks support and understanding of these topics can evolve into.”
She continued, “It helps me improve my ability to approach these situations because I am equipped with the knowledge to guide those who need support and ensure they can bring their best selves to work.”
To make this a global effort, 45 employees in Unum’s United Kingdom office are certified MHFA’s. Beth Husted, Wellbeing and Customer Experience Operations Manager is a volunteer at Unum UK. She said, “Unum prioritise’s workplace wellbeing — it’s a core part of our overall strategy. I’m proud to be a Mental Health First Aider at a company that really makes a difference for its people.”
She added that her Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant colleagues are MHFA’s that work with customers and suggest improvements to workplace policies. “This allows us to provide better service while we upskill line managers and provide employee training,” said Husted.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
While we know most cases of suicide involve mental health issues, it’s important to realize suicide or suicidal thoughts can also happen during other types of crises or conflict. Help is just a phone call away. In 2020, Congress added a three-digit Suicide and Crisis Lifeline which allows those going through a mental health crisis to call or text 9-8-8 for confidential support. This line replaces the former 1-800 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as a quicker, easier method for help.
Support for mental health at work and in the community is vital to society. It helps create hope through action. See how you can help join the fight with local organizations near you.