Employee mental health program asks: Are you okay?

Business consulting firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young) is partnering with its EAP to check in on employee mental health with one simple question: Are you okay?

Forbes is reporting that EY launched a new mental health awareness program to help reduce the stigma of seeking help for mental health-related issues. The program, with its official title of “r u ok?” helps connect employees to existing mental health resources within the organization. Some of these resources include employee champions, cross-country presentations, virtual events, e-learning curriculum, peer-to-peer connections and follow-up services with the company’s EAP.

Since the program launched in the fall of 2016, the company says it has seen a 30.2 percent increase in calls to the assist line that pertain to mental health. The program offers the ability to impact employees’ mental health by easily connecting them with resources.

Dr. Sandra Turner, leader of the “r u ok?” program, told Forbes the success of the program has been EY’s overall culture of diversity and inclusion. “We need to have the right culture,” she told the website. “One where people trust that coming forward about their struggle with mental health will not affect their job.”

Turner offers this advice to companies seeking to implement their own programs:

  • Take advantage of collaboration: Turner says many teams were involved in developing the program, including human resources, the diversity team and communications.
  • Partner with outside experts: EY collaborated with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and other mental health partners to share learnings. The firm will also focus on helping other organizations offer similar services as they move forward with the program.

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