AFGE Launches New Program to Fight Mental Health Stigma

Categories: The Insider

Mental health is part of our overall well-being, and so seeking help with mental health should be like seeing your doctor for a stomachache, a broken leg, or other physical illnesses. Yet people who seek help dealing with their anxiety or stress often feel like they are being judged, that there is “something wrong” with them. Worse, they fear their employers would find out and think they can’t do their jobs.

Like the rest of the country – and the world really – federal workers are dealing with the enormous stress of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Department of Veterans Affairs health care professionals and Bureau of Prisons officers, for example, might fear they’re bringing the virus back to their families on top of all the stress that comes from their regular work. Talking about mental health issues should therefore be part of everyday discussions about our well-being.

“Health and safety at work extends to mental and emotional health as well as physical and chemical hazards. Psychological health, mental and emotional support should be part of health and safety programming--not separate issues that workers try to handle on their own,” said AFGE Health and Safety Specialist Milly Rodriguez.

That’s why AFGE recently launched new training to help federal workers protect their mental health. We have partnered with Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership to provide the tried-and-true resources that help federal workers not only recognize their own anxiety and stress but also help their coworkers navigate the difficult mental health landscape – even when they are working remotely.

If you are a member, steward, or local leader looking for ways to support members and coworkers who may be struggling at work or at home, then this class is for you.

This interactive workshop is designed to help explore ways in which you can raise awareness of mental health conditions and create a stigma-free workplace. Participants will have an opportunity to practice the N.E.S. Notice-Engage-Support intervention model in small groups.

After this training, you will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of creating a stigma-free workplace.
  • Identify the common mental health conditions and how they may present in a workplace setting.
  • Demonstrate support and concern colleagues and co-workers using the N.E.S model.

The workshop will be offered on October 5, 2021, 2-4 pm EST. It is free of charge, but seating is limited and so we are asking that participants commit in advance to this date and time.

This workshop will be followed by a Mental Health Awareness Train the Trainer for stewards, staff and local leaders who want to engage and mobilize members around this critical issue. 

Sign up for our Oct. 5 class today and learn how to protect your mental health! 


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