Supporting your organization’s most valuable asset!

Dr. Sherry Cain, Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, met with Bedford County Development Association (BCDA) to share her thoughts on employee mental well-being. She gave advice for employers, employees, and our community on how to better support those struggling with mental health. Cain has her own private coaching and consulting practice while also working at Nulton Diagnostic and Treatment Center and as the Mental Conditioning Consultant for the NFL Philadelphia Eagles.

“Employees are the most important asset to a company. Much like you would oil your machines at work, employers need to keep their employees ‘well-oiled,’” stated Cain. The World Health Organization estimated the loss of productivity caused by poor mental health has cost the global economy $1 trillion annually.

Employers have a responsibility to create a safe atmosphere that encourages “vulnerability for employees to share their feelings.” Cain said it is important to note that “people won’t change unless they feel safe.” Healthy communication plays a big role in this. Cain discussed that there are tools such as communicating with ‘I’ messages- statements used to express feelings starting with “I feel…” instead of “you make me feel…” These help to create productive communication by being transparent with our feelings/needs instead of targeting others.

It is not just employers who need to be promoting good mental health. It is also important for employees to advocate for themselves as well. “You, as an employee, have control of certain factors contributing to negative mental well-being. You have the power to ask for what you want and need at work. You have the power to set boundaries on how much you think about work when you go home and to be mindful of protecting your time from work and technology. When you set healthy boundaries for yourself, you are also changing the company work culture in a positive way that can benefit coworkers and future employees,” Cain noted.

“Everyone you meet is struggling with something. Even the people who seem happy struggle because pain and joy can coexist. All over the world we have been facing a tremendous loss of community due to the pandemic. To rebuild this sense of community, we need to look at each other with love and listen to each other. A life of service is a life well lived, especially when we are respecting, caring, and supporting each other.”

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