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MindsMatter Action: Accenture

With October featuring Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day and Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, better workplace mental health is top of mind for many organizations. CivicAction reached out to organizations to see how they’re taking action. Read what Accenture is doing in this Q&A with Prea Grover, Program and Project Management Director and Robert D’Ippolito, Advanced App Engineering – Associate Manager.

Tell us about a change your organization is taking to improve workplace mental health.

Earlier this year the Mental Health Employee Resource Group (ERG) launched a Mental Health Ally training program. Participants take part in specialized training that helps equip them with the skills to handle the topic of mental health and be an effective support for colleagues experiencing mental health issues. The training has been crafted by CMHA in collaboration with Accenture and includes topics such as mental health and illness in the workplace, stigma and discrimination in the workplace, warning signs, self-care, workplace accommodations and practical applications.

The objective of this program is to make available employees who are ambassadors, advocates and ‘go-to’ people for those who may need some extra support. These employees/allies play an active role in challenging the stigma around mental health and promoting awareness of the topic. The intent is that they complement the support we provide our employees through Human Resources, Career Counselors, Line Managers and our Employee & Family Assistance Program.

How is this change positively affecting your workplace culture or your employees’ attitudes to mental health?

More than 30+ executives have successfully gone through the training and are official Mental Health Allies. Allies receive a badge on their internal People Page signifying to others that they are allies and have successfully completed the training.

The Mental Health Ally Program has helped exemplify the great work that the Mental Health ERG is doing year-round. The training sparked growth in the ERG membership base and has propelled the ERG forward with an overall increase in volunteers to help with mental health initiatives. It has created more mental health awareness in the workplace and decreased the stigma traditionally attached.

Are there plans for more actions to come? 

In 2020, Accenture is planning to expand the training program to all who are interested and change the delivery model, with a focus on training our senior leaders. Instead of delivering through a vendor, the ERG is hoping to host several ‘train the trainer’ courses that will provide more flexibility in how the training is delivered and increase the number of sessions.

Outside of the ally training program, the Mental Health ERG is dedicated to uniting and educating people on the importance of mental health, as well as encouraging a culture of support for employees who may face a mental health challenge in their personal life or at work. The ERG hosts events, advocates for better mental health benefits and sends out a monthly newsletter.

What does good workplace mental health look like to you?

Simply one where our people can bring their true self to work every day. It is stigma-free and encourages a culture of support for our clients and people who are facing mental health challenges in their personal life or at work.

Anything you’d like to add?

Mental Health is a strategic priority for Accenture. We recognize that when our employees are mentally healthy, they are more engaged at work and our productivity improves. We have been participating in many national campaigns, including Bell Let’s Talk and Not Myself Today campaigns, however we know we can do more. Our Mental Health ERG has created significant momentum over the last couple of years and is now reaching more employees through hosting joint webinars with other ERGs, organizing yoga and meditation events and most recently, the Mental Health Ally Program. We are on the path for truly creating a healthy workplace free of stigma!

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