Better productivity through empathy

As I research mental illness in the workplace, I can’t help but be a bit discouraged when I read things like 56% of employers wouldn’t hire someone if they knew they had a mental illness. We have a lot of educating to do, and it’s firms like Pricewaterhouse Coopers that will bring us out of the dark ages and into this century.

In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, I noticed the following:

Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) wants a culture where people prize and develop their psychological and emotional health, explains Beth Taylor, mental health leader at PwC.

The firm recently launched a group of six mental health advocates to support the de-stigmatization of mental health.

Adds Taylor, “They are all partners in our firm. We wanted leaders to talk about their experiences of mental health. We asked them to be senior role models and figureheads for mental health. Our colleagues can approach them on a one-to-one basis and talk to them about their own experiences and concerns. We don’t want these partners attempting to resolve any underlying mental health issues —they’ve been trained by the Samaritans to offer non-judgmental listening, empathy and signpost people to sources of external or internal help.”

The firm also provides 24/7 access to counseling through its employee assistance program and early intervention cognitive behavioral therapy.

But that’s not all. The firm developed a mental health toolkit in conjunction with Mind for its ‘people managers’, which is part of their role induction. “It includes guidance on spotting signs of possible mental health difficulty, what to do in a mental health emergency and where to go for support,” explains Taylor.

(Read the full article here.)

Only when people wake up and realize mental health issues are a normal part of the human condition will we become more productive as we become more empathetic. What do you think?