Your boss just told you your dreadlocks were unprofessional- Your company’s response -there’s an app for that.
You were told you are “too much” sometimes in the workplace – Your company’s response -go for a walk.
You just got passed up for a promotion in favor of someone with fewer qualifications – Your company’s response -take a deep breath.
You just watched someone who looks like your son and husband get killed in cold blood by law enforcement – Your company’s response –call E.A.P.
You know that Roe v Wade’s overturn will significantly impact Black Women – Your company’s response -Watch this video.
This month is National Minority Mental Health, aka BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month. BIPOC employees experience unique challenges in and outside the workplace that significantly impact their mental health. As more and more organizations realize that they need to address the current mental health crisis in the workplace, they are increasingly relying on digital mental health platforms, apps, mediation, and yoga. Additionally, white men-founded mental health organizations are raising hundreds of dollars in investments.
All of the resources above are helpful for preventative measures and for addressing temporary or insignificant mental health issues. For BIPOC employees, these resources will not address the long-term mental health struggles caused by systemic inequities in the workplace. So, what more should organizations be doing to address the mental health of BIPOC employees in the workplace? Here is some advice:
- ✅ Engage with a BIPOC mental health provider that understands the unique challenges of BIPOC employees in the
- ✅ Start a BIPOC mental health ERG. Be careful not to make this resource another burden for ERG employees. This group should have allocated time to meet without being penalized and have a budget, senior leadership commitment, and support.
- ✅ Support non-profits that are doing this work. I may be biased, but my non-profit, The Bowman Foundation for Workplace Equity and Mental Wellness, is working daily to promote cultures of mental wellness in the workplace, especially for BIPOC employees.
- ✅ Just C.A.R.E. My last newsletter introduced the C.A.R.E. model for creating safe spaces for dialogue about mental health for employees.
As this country continues to experience violence against BIPOC employees, overturn laws, and fail to address inequities in the workplace, addressing the mental health of BIPOC employees is needed more than ever. What will you do to create safe, equitable, and healthy work environments?
Natasha Bowman, JD is a 2022 LinkedIn Top Voice for Mental Health and author or The Power of One: Leading with Civility, Candor, and Courage.