Well-meaning employee mental health advocates, including wellness leaders, may — in our zeal to address mental health — inadvertently reinforce or perpetuate mental health stigma. Here’s how:
1) Viewing stigma too narrowly, especially seeing it only as failure to seek treatment. Mental health stigma includes public stigma, characterized by lack of information (and stereotyping), prejudice, and discrimination, and self stigma, which includes internalization of social stigma stereotypes, reduced self-esteem, and reduced self-efficacy. Reluctance to seek treatment (or not being aware of treatment opportunities) is a critical consequence of stigma. But people who receive treatment, and people who don’t need treatment, experience stigma, too.
2) Not understanding how to address stigma. Anti-stigma campaigns are based on protest (e.g. speaking up against stereotyping); education (like the communication tactics employers commonly implement); and contact (interacting with people who have “lived experience” with mental health problems). Continue reading »
Today’s big news in the employee health industry is the merger of telemedicine company Teladoc Health and virtual disease management company Livongo. Both have been high flyers in 2020, with their revenues and their stock prices (Livongo just celebrated the one-year anniversary of its IPO and has been a Wall Street darling since then) skyrocketing. Each of the two companies stock prices are up by more than 100% year-to-date.
Telemedicine has been all the rage among employee benefits directors for at least five years, but utilization remained lackluster until this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic radically accelerated consumer uptake.
Benefits of the merger include “joining two leaders in consumer behavior change,” according to a joint news release.
Speaking of behavior change, both companies’ stocks made it onto the markets’ Biggest Loser list on the day of the merger announcement, with Teladoc down 19% and Livongo off by 11% — the second and fourth biggest losers for the day, respectively.
Wellness (orwellbeing, if you will) is usually illustrated as a perfect circle divided into uniform wedges.Gallup’s5 wedges, for example, represent Social, Financial, Physical, Community, andCareerPurpose wellbeing.National Wellness Institutehas its Occupational, Physical, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Emotional dimensions.
There’s no end to how circles can be sliced up into the elements of wellness, whether there are 6, 7, 8 wedges, or — even as some models have it — 12 wedges of an inner circle surrounded by 8 pastel sections that join to form 2 concentric circles. (Stop this ride, I’m getting dizzy!)
These wellness merry-go-rounds are mostly the product of an American spin on wellness. Elsewhere, especially Europe, the focus is on what wellnessis— something related to happiness and life satisfaction. You know…wellbeing! In the US we obsess over thecomponentsof wellness — no time to fret about what they add up to — as you may recall from my post “Wellbeing and Pizza: In Search of the Secret Sauce.”
These tidy geometrics are a swell way to say that wellbeing goes beyond physical health. But a handful of static, one dimensional, and evenly distributed wedges — crammed into a flawlessly circular vessel — don’t resonate with my experience of wellness. And I wonder if they’re an ideal way to describe what other people’s wellbeing — ultimately their lives — are or can be.
Meet My Globules
My wellness is more like a lava lamp: An ever-changing bunch of free-floating globules of different shapes and sizes. I’ve got fitness globules, mental health globules, spiritual globules. Some rise to the surface for as others submerge. They’re fluid. They expand and they contract.
Some globules, like my health globule and my financial globule, merge for a while. My emotional globule occasionally smothers my intellectual globule; other times, it’s the other way around. Look: My creativity globule and logic globule are going at each other right now!
But even the lava lamp analogy eventually runs dry. Ultimately, I want my globules to be set free, to be unbound by time and space, and to interconnect with others’ globules — those of people who love me and those of people who don’t. Any model of real wellbeing has to show our globules interacting and interconnecting. You heard me right: We must have global globules.
The change starts within. To paraphrase an ancient sage: Be a lava lamp unto thyself.
Copyright 2020 by Bob Merberg. All rights reserved. (My globules may be your globules. But my work is not.)
I don’t know what’s going to happen to the economy or what course the coronavirus pandemic will take. But I’ve had time to reflect on what a new world order may mean for employee wellness and the future of work.
Here are 10 hopes, fears, and questions (not predictions):
1) We’ll re-frame “meaningful work” — I recently heard, in an interview, a worker who delivers tortillas to grocery stores poignantly articulate what will prevail as a fresh take on meaning and work: Continue reading »
I’m pleased to provide these practical tips for wellness vendor management, one of the most demanding roles of employee wellness managers. Some of these — six tips for implementation and oversight, eight for selection and contracting — may be more relevant to larger corporations, but many are applicable to a spectrum of organizations and a variety of non-wellness vendors. They can help make a manager’s job easier, while eliciting higher levels of performance from vendors. Continue reading »
Science For Work summarizes research-based evidence that can guide business management decisions, with emphasis on industrial and organizational psychology. Their recent post, Why You Should Consider Fairness When Designing Your Change Management Process, exemplifies the well-researched, practical, and engaging content this non-profit organization provides. The topic, organizational justice, can be difficult to comprehend by well-being professionals for whom organizational behavior is uncharted territory. But Science for Work does a fine job breaking it down. See their infographic (below) followed by my two cents, then head on over to ScienceForWork.com to learn more.Continue reading »