Standing Together for Mental Health: Supporting Employee Wellbeing During Times of Crisis

Mantra employees at our first virtual offsite in March 2022

Mental health matters every day of the year, but especially during times of crisis. At Mantra Health, we have hired a phenomenal team of creatives, experts, clinicians, leaders, and mental health advocates, all of whom hold additional roles of parent, friend, relative, child, partner, community member, and loved one. We are all humans, first and foremost, and we have basic human needs. 

When there’s a national crisis, political event, weather-related disaster, public health emergency, or personal tragedy, we should strive to give employees the grace and autonomy to respond and grieve on their own terms. This not only prevents burnout, but encourages a healthy work/life balance. 

Take a Proactive, Collaborative Approach to Mental Health

According to Mental Health America’s (MHA) Mind the Workplace 2022 Report, four out of five employees say workplace stress affects their relationships with friends, family, and coworkers – and while 47% of employees know about their company’s mental health services, only 38% feel comfortable using them. If we want our employees to strengthen their mental health, we have to give them the opportunity to do so.

Offering mental health benefits, such as flexible hours, ample paid time off, access to mental health resources, like meditation and therapy, is just one step in supporting employee health and wellbeing. It needs to be a collaborative and proactive priority. At Mantra Health, we’re focused on cultivating a company culture of compassion and understanding. 

“We take a proactive approach to employee mental health and wellness,” says Allie Schwartz, VP of People Operations at Mantra Health. “We don’t just give employees unlimited time off. We track their time taken to encourage them to utilize their PTO throughout the year. We also host training sessions for new employees on supporting their colleague’s mental health. We encourage teammates to turn off notifications after hours, block time off for focused work, and build a schedule that best suits their preferred way of working and we offer meditation and yoga classes, in addition to free Talkspace subscriptions.”

We know that mental health goes beyond mental health benefits. It’s important to create a culture of collaboration, so employees feel comfortable to ask questions, set boundaries, and adjust their days to accommodate their personal needs. 

Since joining the Mantra Health, Nicole Wheeler, M.A. NCC LPC, Mantra Health Provider, said that her family and friends have noticed that her stress levels have lowered. “If just the work environment has had this impact on me, imagine how we are impacting the clients. It all starts with leadership. I’ve had lots of job offers and I keep turning them down [because of] how happy I am.”

“I decided to work for Mantra Health because of the population we serve,” said Maribel Aheran, EdD, LMHC, Mental Health Provider, who likes the company culture and the professionalism and respect that’s offered to providers. 

Ted Wolf, Analytics Manager at Mantra Health, said, “It's the first time in my career that a professional opportunity truly aligned with something I'm passionate about as a person… I've struggled with major depression and anxiety since I was [a teenager], and college was the lowest point… I didn't know how to navigate anything or what the next steps even were, and it took me three full years after I accepted the fact that I had a mental health issue to even begin therapy because I had to figure everything out on my own. If I found therapy and the care I needed while I was in school, I can only imagine how much better my experience as a student and overall life would have been. So, [now I] get the chance to provide that for thousands of students while also furthering my own skills.”

Becky Arroyo, LMHC, Mantra Health Provider, said, “I get to focus on my work with clients and also my personal life, which in turn allows me to show up 100% for my clients.”

How Our Team Prioritizes Mental Health – and How You Can, Too

No one is immune from stress, anxiety, or mental health issues, but some of the hardest hit are clinical providers who offer unconditional care to others. We asked some of our providers how they take care of their mental health and here’s what they said:

“I make time to disconnect from ‘noise’ or stimuli such as staying away from electronics and social media while enjoying the silence.” – Maria Ximena Cortada, LCSW, Mantra Health Provider

“I keep my hygiene routines, even when I'm really tired or struggling. Sometimes, just having the routine makes me do the task without thinking. [Putting] one foot in front of the other, one brushing of the teeth or a healthy meal or quick rest at a time, puts me back on track.” – Sarah Barrett, LCSW, Mantra Health Provider

“[I focus on] spending time enjoying my family, sitting down and drinking coffee, working outside, or going for a bike ride.” – Marie-Anne Abenroth MA, LPC, LAC, NCC

“I set boundaries, I set limits, I spend alone time, I spend time with my family and friends, I give back, I limit my working hours, I go for walks, I go outside 20 minutes a day no matter what, I hug my husband, I hug my children, I hug my dogs and cats, I laugh often, I appreciate everything I have, I do not waste time on drama, I practice kindness, I talk to my friends, [and] when needed, I [reach] out for mental health support.” – Donna Marley, LCSW, Mantra Health Provider

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health care, but far too often stigma, social barriers, financial strains, limited care access, work constraints, and other factors prevent people from speaking up, taking personal breaks, and accessing mental health services. We want to make sure each teammate feels supported – and if they don’t, we should work with them individually to change this.

Protect Your Employees’ Wellbeing Year-Round

A company is only as successful as its people – and people need more than tools and resources to thrive in the workplace. To protect team mental health, it’s important to talk openly about mental health issues, acknowledge times of stress, and praise mental health best practices. 

Here at Mantra Health, we’re lucky to have a team that is not only dedicated to the company mission, but is also full of empathy and compassion. Our leadership team also knows how important self-care is and encourages employees to set boundaries around personal time, schedule doctor visits during the day, say “no” to unnecessary meeting invites, take PTO when needed, eat lunch away from the desk or office, and speak up about their mental health needs. When we foster this kind of environment, we make it easier for employees to take care of themselves during difficult times. 

To learn more about Mantra Health and how we’re building a team of providers to expand mental health access on college campuses, contact us at partner@mantrahealth.com