READOUT: White House Mental Health at Work roundtable underscored removing stigma, strengthening supports, sharing best practices
WASHINGTON – Representatives from the Domestic Policy Council, Department of Labor, Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Veterans Affairs convened today for a roundtable on Mental Health at Work at the White House. The discussion focused on the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to promoting best practices to improve worker mental health in federal workplaces.
Roundtable participants consisted of federal employees – including Employee Assistance Program and work life coordinators – union leaders, EAP vendors, and mental health experts and advocates. All discussed the importance of eliminating stigma, reducing stress, and strengthening and improving mental health supports at federal agencies, and offered their recommendations for best practices.
During the roundtable, Department of Labor representatives discussed the ongoing Mental Health at Work Initiative, highlighting a new public service announcement on the need to create mental health-friendly workplaces.
“Mental health-friendly workplaces can have an important positive impact on workers’ lives, and this certainly includes those of federal employees,” said Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn Williams. “At the Department of Labor, we are raising awareness to reduce stigma around mental health at work, and to connect workers and employers with the resources they need to manage everything from day-to-day stress, to treating diagnosable mental health conditions, including substance use disorders.”
The Office of Personnel Management discussed efforts to revitalize Employee Assistance Programs as an important part of employee wellness. Released today, OPM’s new Employee Wellness Program guidance, which incorporates advice on EAP within a broader set of wellness programming, establishes parameters for Employee Wellness Programs; provides agency leaders with resources for themselves, agency work life coordinators, supervisors, and employees; and equips leaders with the information needed to promote employees access to wellness resources.
“Employee Wellness Programs are an essential part of supporting our workforce," said Rob Shriver, OPM Deputy Director. "These programs give leaders at all levels the tools and resources they need to promote and sustain well-being. We know that EAPs play an important role in minimizing negative stigmas around seeking mental health treatment and foster supportive and safe workplaces.”
The roundtable was part of the administration’s recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, and its broader commitment to making the federal government a model employer.