The WSCPA highlighted mental health awareness throughout the month of May as part of our mission to celebrate and include the authentic, whole person. Kimberly Scott, WSCPA President & CEO, sat down with therapist and CPA, Carrie Potter, to discuss steps leaders can take to support their employees' mental health. Topics included how important it is for leaders to set an example from the top and not just allow space for people to be human, but encourage it. Leaders should create a culture in their organizations where every individual feels safe to be whole and authentic no matter their current circumstances. While they don't need to have all of the answers, they can serve as a bridge to resources available in the community. Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
How do we get mental health to be more accepted in the business community?
"Business leaders [need to] start to understand that if we say we value people, we have to value the whole person. And that means a physical body and an emotional component to life. When we ignore those things, there's actually a real cost. Burnout is incredibly expensive." Carrie says she sees this type of burnout especially in her high-achieving professional clients. They go for a long time without dealing with their mental health and are very successful, until they’re not. When the mental “injury” does occur, it can feel like it is coming out of nowhere. “So, if we can allow space for people to deal with those things before they become a real problem, I think that benefits everybody.”
Where is a good place for leaders to start?
Carrie says leaders need to set the tone from the top. Begin by “actually having leaders take time off and talk about it,” including mental health appointments. As a leader, “you don’t have to know all of the answers, you just have to be a bridge” to resources in the community. Creating a psychologically safe culture ensures your organization’s “individuals feel safe to be whole and authentic no matter where they are at.”
Learn more about mental health in the workplace by watching the entire video on the WSCPA blog at wscpa.org/mentalhealth.
Carrie Potter, CPA, is an educator and therapist at Carrie Potter Counseling & Consulting, PLLC. Connect with Carrie at www.carriepottercounseling.com.