Learn, listen and lean on support system for mental health challenges

As part of Mental Health Month, CDCR encourages you to take a moment for your mental health and to think about how you can support someone you know who has a mental health challenge. Judgment and unfair treatment (often referred to as stigma) can keep people from seeking help. In fact, a recent statewide survey conducted by the RAND Corporation found that nine out of 10 Californians who are experiencing a mental health challenge report discrimination.

Here are three simple things you can do to help:

  • Wear a lime green ribbon in your everyday life to express your support for mental health and share why mental health matters to you when asked about it. For CDCR Headquarters employees, ribbons are available in the lobbies of the North and South buildings. Come grab a ribbon and learn more about mental health!
  • Speak up when you hear inaccurate information about mental health and share the facts. Educate yourself at eachmindmatters.org
  • Share videos, blogs or photos from eachmindmatters.org on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to help get your friends and family talking about mental health.

If you are concerned about someone in your life but are not sure what to do, try taking these steps:

  • Find a time to talk privately and share why you are concerned. Ask questions that call for more than just a yes/no or one-word response and then really listen.
  • Offer hope and support. Let them know that struggling with mental health is quite common and that people do recover.
  • Share resources. Offer information about where to find help. CDCR employees can learn more from the CDCR Office of Employee Wellness, Peer Support Services Section, (916) 327-8570, and Employee Assistance Program, (866) 327-4762, or by visiting http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/wellness/.
  • Follow-up. Ask the person how you can help, and follow their lead about what is helpful.

To learn more about the signs of suicide, how to have a conversation with someone you are concerned about, and more resources visit www.suicideispreventable.org.

Everyone experiences different levels of mental health as we go through life. All of us have a reason to speak up and reach out if we or someone we care about has a mental health challenge. Here are some myths and facts to know and share:

  • Mental health problems are common: 50 percent of us will experience a mental health challenge in our lifetime.
  • These problems often begin in youth and young adulthood. Half of all mental disorders start by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24.
  • Unfortunately, research shows many people do not reach out for support. For young people, an average of six to eight years passes from the time they first experience symptoms to the time they get help.
  • People recover from mental illness all the time. With support and treatment, between 70 and 90 percent of individuals report reduced symptoms and improved quality of life.
  • Good mental health enables people to realize their potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities.

For more information about mental health challenges, where to get support, what to do if you are concerned about a loved one, or how to help further the mental health movement visit: www.eachmindmatters.org


4 Responses

  1. LuEllen Luker, LCSW Wednesday, May 3, 2017 / 10:46 am

    This is a very thoughtful article encouraging other employees to get involved. Life matters and it starts with each of us having empathy for others. Thank you for writing an article for CDCR that normalizes mental health and takes the focus away from stigma.

  2. Jane Rogan CDCR - C.I.W. Tuesday, May 2, 2017 / 8:49 am

    God bless you for helping others and saving a life.

  3. Harald Beck, PhD Monday, May 1, 2017 / 9:56 am

    Excellent article. Of course CDCR has the same challenge as Vererans Affairs; and that is to put time into reviewing the structure of particular jobs so as to make sure they are structured in a manner that does not unnecessarily tax mental and physical health. A 2015 study showed that VA employees, particularly mental health staff, were negatively impacted by bureaucracy and not compassion fatigue. It was a big eye opener for the VA, and CDCR will hopefully follow in kind. There is inherent stress in certain jobs, but it is the responsibility of leadership to try and eliminate unnecessary sources of stress.

    • don novey Monday, May 1, 2017 / 9:56 pm

      Just ask any vet.

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