MUSCATINE, Iowa–Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and organizations have reexamined the importance of mental health. According to the most recent statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as many as one out of every five adults in the United States experienced a mental illness in 2020 and one in 20 adults experienced a serious mental illness. One in five adults also found that the pandemic and the stressors associated with it negatively impacted their mental health. The effects of untreated mental health conditions have wide reaching impacts, making it harder for people to take care of themselves and their families and lowering their productivity at work.
As part of their ongoing efforts to promote the health and safety of their employees, Bayer recently conducted an Employee Voices Survey, which identified mental health as an area many workers wanted to focus on. In response to this interest and to address some of the heightened mental health needs brought about by the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bayer held a week of mental health awareness events, with their #breakthestigma Walk on July 12 as the high point of the week.
Throughout the week, Bayer made useful and easy to understand mental health resources available to all of their employees. These included a series of short mental health awareness videos that addressed a variety of topics as well as the Mental Health in the Workplace Lunch and Learn featuring guest speaker Diane Rohlman, which 65 people attended.
To show their commitment to supporting their colleagues’ mental health, many at Bayer took part in the #breakthestigma walk. Around 10:30 a.m. July 12, 82 Bayer employees stepped off from Bayer’s main site for the walk. With refreshing bottles of water in hand, the participants made the just over one mile walk to Bayer’s butterfly garden, where they enjoyed lunch together. They then made the walk back to the plant as a group, enjoying a day of warm temperatures and low humidity.
Reflecting on all of Bayer’s recent activities to promote mental health awareness, Bayer Site Manager Silvia Malaman felt encouraged by all of the ways Bayer leadership and staff members came together and their dedication to openly and honestly addressing the importance of mental health. “I truly believe that Bayer is caring about our workforce, connecting people and resources for a such important conversation about mental health,” she said. “Bayer has been courageous in recognizing the need to support our workforce.”
Even with Bayer’s mental health week over and the #breakthestigma walk finished, Malaman looks to keep the momentum around mental health awareness going to ensure that everyone at Bayer feels supported in taking care of their own mental health. She elaborated: “we are all people; sometimes we have our struggles and need help. We need to talk about mental health. As an organization, it’s beautiful to mobilize efforts and resources to help our team and extend to their families, generating impact in people’s life and caring about each other.”