Today I admit that I have a YouTube crush: Dr. John Delony. I want to share a clip from a show he recently did about how to address mental health at work. I listened to this while I was on a walk and was so excited to hear the caller’s ideas and John’s ideas about this extremely important and timely issue.
A little background on Delony: He is a Dave Ramsey personality, which means he sometimes sits on calls with Dave Ramsey. I found his input to be interesting enough that one day I went over to his channel to see what his non-financial calls were like. I was astounded. His calls are people calling in about all kinds of personal issues, relationship issues, addiction, family problems, etc. Dr. Delony has a great way of walking through the problem, defining/redefining it, and then talking about solutions.
As a parent, husband, and friend, I’ve found his approach to be just what I need right now to work on myself and help others work through their problems.
How to Address Mental Health at Work
So, back to this particular call (which you can watch here, it is from minute 1:45 to about 17:25), Chris works with a construction crew in Arizona. He decided to talk about some things he worked through with his crew and that opened people up to making some changes in their lives (including seeking help as well as getting back on medication).
John says he doesn’t like to use the word “hero” lightly, but that what Chris did, and wants to do, is heroic.
He simply had a conversation that opened the door to address mental health at work. I really want you to listen to the call, so click the image below, but I’ll share some of my thoughts below the image.
1. Talk about mental health openly
Chris called about how to further address mental health and anxiety after one talk he had with his crew. Dr. Delony talked about how good it was to talk about this openly. I agree that this should be less weird and less stigmatized, but you have to be careful to not think you are a therapist, or talk like a therapist. This is just people talking to people.
The question is, how do you do this in a work environment so you don’t open your organization up to liability (read: lawsuits)? I’m not an expert in this area so make sure you talk to your legal or HR department (legal will likely dissuade you from any conversation to directly address mental health at work in a way that makes them/you liable).
But to John’s point, make this about humans talking to humans. He says we need “people to stand up in their area, in their group,… with the audience you have,” which is powerful. We are all struggling… why do we need to ignore our personal issues and pretend nothing bad is happening?
2. Create the right environment
John suggests to create a recurring (formal) group. The power here is that after a while people can open up. People can be more vulnerable when trust increases. This doesn’t happen in the first meeting, and it’s hard to do this when it’s always a different group of people.
He says he’s going to send Chris a book he wrote, Redefining Anxiety. He also is going to send ten Ramsey Plus subscriptions. Think about that: not only is he suggesting to have the right conversations with the right people (small groups), but he’s sending tools to have the right conversations.
Need to address mental health at work? Maybe some of the issues have to do with money management! When I worked at a company in 2018 they would give a $100 cash reward to anyone who went through Ramsey’s program. Part of their rationale was that if someone didn’t manage their finances well, they would be preoccupied at work and not bring their best to their job.
Figure out what root issues people are dealing with, even if they don’t feel like they are under the stereotypical “mental health” umbrella and help with those.
Figuring out these small groups and then guiding conversation with books, systems, etc. is how you create the right environment to address mental health at work.
3. Avoid focusing on deep mental health issues
I thought this was a profound suggestion. John talks about the tons of money the Ramsey organization spends on community gatherings, usually around food. John suggested Chris create or support a softball team or a regular night to throw darts. The key is to create community interaction.
He says you should make the conversation less about mental health issues and more about getting together and doing life together.
He also talks about the danger of focusing on mental health issues, which I thought was profound. You have to listen to that part (it’s in the last few minutes of his call). Of utmost importance is recognizing you are not the key to fixing people’s issues. You are probably not qualified, it’s probably not your job, and you shouldn’t have that burden placed on you.
So bring the right people in. Hire therapists to do a lunch-and-learn, and share tips for your team. Not just one therapist but multiple therapists. Normalize the conversation of how to do life better.
These things can help you help your people be healthier. When they are mentally healthier they can bring their whole, better self to their job. Doesn’t that sound like a great investment?
Snowfly and Mental Health
We have various clients who have wellness programs. Sometimes this is smoking cessation, sometimes it is weight loss. The key is to create a program that your team needs and will benefit from. We’d love to talk to you about how our programs can help you do any of the three above and be a part of your wholistic approach to improving your culture. Want to talk?