Samantha Binns – Workplace Headspace: Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

We spend over 1/3 of our life working. What if every place we worked at was a safe place for our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Hi, my name is Samantha Binns and I am a people person with a passion for helping companies become people people. I have learned the power of starting a conversation to bring about change. I talked to professionals in varying industries and learned about what mental health looks like for them at work, I have recorded my findings in a blog.

The purpose of my blog is to start a conversation between employees and employers. Learn what other people are experiencing and make decisions in our workplace that positively impact our headspace. I want to give a voice to employees at all levels while sharing science based evidence on mental health and mental health resources for employers.

The inspiration for this blog came from a conversation with a roommate who works a summer job at an Alaskan fish plant. She is now a shift lead and expressed concern for being a people leader with no HR or mental health training. I started to tap into my background in mental health and employee wellbeing and she stopped me quickly to tell me about how those solutions won’t work and the writing started. My first blog post was written that night learning from and sharing her experience. A series of blog posts followed.

Some challenges that came was finding people willing to talk about mental health at their workplace. It is vulnerable to evaluate your workplace in any capacity. I gave opportunities for my interviewees to remain anonymous but the stigma around mental health exists and it creates additional barriers in talking to people and learning about their experiences

Building this project required me to collect many resources and gather things from many sights. I have personal partnerships and relationships with organizations like NAMI and QPR suicide prevention training but was thankful for their insights into my blog. I interviewed people with the iPhone voice memo app and then turned it into a blog post format with my personal conversation.

I learned that each individual industry battles different barriers with addressing and accessing mental health resources. I learned that many people want to be the change in their office or job site but do not know where to start. I learned that many employers are offering more things than employees realize and the barrier of effective internal communication exists.

As I mentioned in the video, a lot of good can be done from being the person who starts the conversation. We the employees need to work with we the employers to make every workplace a positive place for our headspace. We have the power to be protectors of our own peace no matter where we are in life. Employers carry the responsibility of their people leaders being trained in mental health crisis response and emotional intelligence.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” -The Lorax