South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Wins the CredibleMind Award for Reducing Mental Health Stigma.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has earned the CredibleMind award for “Reducing Mental Health Stigma in the Workplace.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, many DHEC employees were involved in pandemic-related activities, while others worked tirelessly to ensure that mission-critical roles providing environmental, healthcare quality, and public health services to South Carolina residents remained uninterrupted. This resulted in increased calls to DHEC’s Human Resources team regarding concerns about behaviors indicative of mental health and crisis situations and challenges. In an effort to address these growing concerns, DHEC created a workplace where it was safe to talk about mental health and provided employees with resources to help manage common mental health challenges.
Suicide prevention, detection, and awareness are top priorities for DHEC, and in June of 2020, the company launched its START Suicide Prevention Training with a group of 200 employees. In August of 2021, DHEC rolled out the Talk Saves Lives Suicide Prevention Education for Workplace Settings training for all employees, making them the first South Carolina state agency to require and provide suicide prevention training for all its employees.
Another key priority was providing all employees convenient and confidential access to mental health resources. As a result, DHEC launched the Mental Health Resources SharePoint page for employees; hosted dozens of internal presentations on stress management, self-care, and suicide prevention for more than 1,300 attendees; and provided employees with self-care palm cards designed to fit behind employee ID badges or in pockets, allowing staff to access helpful resources even when away from their computers. DHEC launched the CredibleMind platform in July 2021 and has since hosted nearly 40 presentations to approximately 2,000 employees on the benefits and features of the platform.
DHEC is not stopping its outreach activities. The agency is providing Mental Health First Aid training to interested staff across the state. This training teaches adults how to recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance abuse challenge and link individuals to appropriate care resources. DHEC also frequently updates resources on both its internal SharePoint and CredibleMind sites to reflect the specific needs of its staff. DHEC’s efforts are exemplary and serve as a model for other organizations to follow in addressing mental health concerns in the workplace.
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