Improving Employer Mental Health Practices Grant Update

The Business Health Care Group recognizes the significant impact of mental health disorders on employees in the workplace. As part of our ongoing commitment to this issue we are participating in a grant to identify how employers perceive their needs in this area and how these needs can be addressed.

In January of 2011 Mental Health America of Wisconsin (MHA) received a $50,000 collaboration development grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The grant, Improving Employer Mental Health Practices, is a strategic planning initiative that seeks to understand what keeps employers from adopting identified mental health best practices and what can be done to facilitate employer adoption.

The BHCG, as well as The Alliance in Madison, are the project’s two employer group partners that have provided access to their members for surveys, focus groups and key informant interviews that will allow MHA to better understand how workplace mental health programs are viewed by employers and the barriers that may exist to implementation. In February of this year, nine BHCG employer representatives participated in a focus group for the project. The participants were presented with examples of benchmarks for what they might do to address mental health issues in the workplace, metrics for measuring the impact and supervisor training. They were then asked whether these examples might meet their needs and whether barriers exist to introduce their use.

The project outcomes will include the development of a database of evidence-based and best practices in workplace mental health and a strategic plan for promoting implementation of best practices and dissemination of the results. The goal of the project will be to create a more robust partnership that is committed to implementation of the strategic plan. We wish to thank all those employers involved in the project’s survey, interviews and focus groups – your participation is much appreciated and will significantly contribute to the initiative’s ultimate success.

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