State Department holds first meeting on workplace mental health

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:34 PM EDT
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Mich. (WLUC) - Last week, Governor Whitmer tasked the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to implement strategies and Wednesday was the department’s first seminar.

Mental health is a universal topic that many tackle every day, even in the workplace. The Michigan Labor Department held a virtual seminar to discuss how employers can help with their employee’s mental health. The Deputy Director of the Labor Division, Sean Egan said there is not a singular solution to mental health.

“I’d love to tell you that if you do x, y and z everything will be fine but it’s not quite that simple,” Egan said. “So we are going to continue to build out resources and opportunities, so we will circle back but we are available to continue this discussion.”

The seminar also featured a member from a national nonprofit called Corporation for a Skilled Workforce. The discussion focused on elevated stress and how that can lead to burnout. Director of the trauma and resilience at work division, Vickie Choitz said workplaces have opportunities to provide a healthy environment.

“The more we understand about toxic stress, trauma and resilience the more we understand these automatic bodily responses and what we can be doing to have healthier behaviors, the better off we will all be,” Choitz said.

Egan discussed the additional stress the Covid-19 pandemic created for employees. After the small PowerPoint presentations, both Egan and Choitz took questions from viewers. Egan said the topic of mental health is ongoing and requires constant work, even at the workplace.

“I think we’re right at the foundational stage and this is important. We need to continue pushing it forward in both the private sector as well as the public sector,” Egan said. “The state as an entity is committed to making sure we continue to have these discussions to talk about resilient workplaces and build stronger communities.”

Egan said he hopes if more people hear about the work the state is doing to improve mental health discussions, it will create a stronger Michigan.

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