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2018 Pre-Conference Recap: Creating a Stigma-Free Workplace

Most employers recognize mental health and wellness is an important element to overall employee wellbeing. Yet, discussing it in the workplace remains taboo and creates a barrier for employees to seek help and resources.  The 10th Annual Pre-Conference Summit on October 29, 2018 featured International mental health speaker and founder of A World Without Suicide, Mettie Spiess, CWP, who provided “The Zero-Stigma Blueprint to Workplace Mental Health.”
During this interactive and intensive training, Mettie shared her 3-step framework “Voice. Value. Vigilance.” to effectively support employee mental health, and provided a deep exploration of several practical strategies and examples at the individual and organizational level under each principle. See abbreviated summary below:
  • Help create a work culture that employees can be open to Voice/ talk about their mental health condition without judgement
    • Example strategy at the individual level: Using stigma-free language 
      • Avoid using “crazy”, “so bipolar”, “nuts”, “victim” --> Use “struggles with” or “survivor of…”
  • Promote the Value of mental wellness to increase employee engagement
    • When employees feel valued, they are more likely to seek support and resources
    • Example strategy at the organizational level: equalize mental health and physical health initiatives (1:1 ratio)
      • Ensure Mental Health questions are included in your Health Risk Assessments; or include events promoting mental health awareness
  • Employer leaders to be Vigilant in supporting employees in need and recognizing those in crisis
    • Example strategy at the organizational level: Train your managers (Avoid panic and save lives)
      • Ensure it is best practice & tailored to your industry’s culture

What’s next?

  • Bridge the gap of awareness to action
  • Include mental health initiative options in your 2019 wellness strategic planning meeting
  • Work with the safety officer to begin a crisis protocol
  • Review training options that fit best for your work culture/industry


Connect with Mettie Spiess    



Phone: (715) 340-0289


Angeline Day, MPH, CHES
Program Manager
Learn more about me.

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