What Companies Are Doing To Change The Culture Of Workplace Mental Health

Learn innovative strategies from companies like Google, Johnson & Johnson, RetailMeNot And SAP

Bernie Wong | Senior Associate, Mind Share Partners

This article was originally published on Forbes. Go here to read more of Mind Share Partners' Forbes features.

With its high-risk, high-reward culture, a venture capital firm may not seem like a likely advocate for mental health at work. Dasha Maggio, Partner and Head of Founder Success at Felicis Ventures, says otherwise: “As investors, we place a big expectation on founders to create world-changing ideas and disruptive companies. But largely as an industry, we don't do enough to support the people actually building these companies through the journey.”

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A study by UCSF researcher Michael Freeman found that entrepreneurs are nearly 50% more likely than others to report having a mental health condition in their lifetime. To meet this largely unaddressed need, Maggio helped to launch an initiative called the Founder Development Pledge. It commits 1% on top of every invested dollar for founders to use on therapy and coaching.

Founders aren’t the only ones affected by mental health—60% of U.S. employees experience symptoms of a mental health condition every year. Several business leaders joined Maggio to discuss their own companies’ innovative approaches to supporting their employees’ mental health at Mind Share Partners’ Mental Health at Work 2019 Conference earlier this year.

An Approach Without Bells And Whistles Can Be Most Effective

While perks like free meals, snacks, ping pong tables and happy hours can add a level of appeal and enjoyment to an organization’s work culture, they often miss the mark in actually supporting the health and wellbeing of employees. Cotter Cunningham, Founder and Chairman of RetailMeNot, shared his experience on building the mental health culture at RetailMeNot.

Did you know that regardless of how robust a company’s benefits are, it is the culture that ultimately reduces stigma and empowers employees to actually use those benefits without fear of retribution? Learn more.