Episode 128 | Setting Up a Mental Health Initiative in Your Group Practice
WITH MAUREEN WERRBACH
- Episode 128 | Setting Up a Mental Health Initiative in Your Group Practice 00:00
Setting Up a Mental Health Initiative in Your Group Practice
Hi Group Practice Listeners! I’m talking about getting a mental health initiative for your team set up in your group practice.
In this episode I cover:
- What a mental health initiative is
- Why implement a mental health initiative
- What a mental health initiative can consist of
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Hi, I hope you’re having a great day today. Today I want to talk about something that I was working on this summer that I think is really important and timely for what’s been going on all year. And that is building a mental health initiative in your group practice.
Every year I think about different benefits that I can offer to my staffs. And this year was no different. And with all that was going on, the one thing I kept going back to was how to make sure that my team feels supported, and that they’re working in a place that values their mental health and is prioritizing their mental health. So that led me to think about how we can set up a mental health initiative. And I’m feeling really happy about it. I’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback from my team on it since launching it. I know a lot of group practice owners had some questions around how I had set it up and what things are involved in it, so I’m going to talk a little bit about how I have it set up.
And really at the end of the day, mental health initiatives, aside from the focus being on mental health is really going to look different practice to practice or business to business, depending on what things you are the people who are leading this initiative, put into that, right?
There’s a ton of things that we can do that positively impact mental health in the workplace. So I’m just going to talk about a few of those that I’ve focused on.
I started it over the summer, when I was thinking about how can I best provide a space that prioritizes the mental health of all the staff in my practice. And I played around with a lot of different ideas, I worked with my clinical director, and she came up with a lot of good ideas. We kind of got to a place at the end where we put together six of the best things based off of what we could actually continuously do. Because I think that’s one thing to think about is, you know, you don’t want to offer things that you aren’t able to consistently offer or put the time and effort into. You know, it’s one thing to put these grand things out there. And it’s a completely other thing to consistently provide the space to offer those things.
The second thing that is important to think about is the financial piece, do you have the financial capacity to, in a long term sort of way be able to cover those things. And so there are certain things, right, that might cost a ton of money. And if you have it, you can offer it. We are working within certain budgets. And so that played a role in some of the options that we were providing to our team.
So the first thing that we thought of for the mental health initiative was monthly self care competitions with prizes.
Our practice, highly, highly values, collaboration, a family feel, and so a lot of what we do just normally is connect with each other. Engage in connection whether that’s in the office or outside the office. (Obviously COVID makes things different.) But we’re really a family in our practice. And so I knew that friendly competitions and having things that require us to engage in the self care as a team together, would be something that they valued.
So we set something up where every month we have something different going on that prioritizes their mental health, but has us all including each other on it. As an example, this month is self care bingo, and the first person to fully clear their bingo card before the end of the month gets a prize. And that bingo card has all self care things like slept eight hours today, or read a book, you know, different things like went on a walk out in nature, different things like that. And whoever gets to it first wins. We have different things every month that will include self care, mental health related games, and have us all included on it.
The next mental health initiative thing that we did, which kind of goes in line with the culture of our practice was bi-monthly creative slash self-care meetups.
So obviously now there are virtual meetups. But it’s where every two months, someone in our staff who does something really cool that promotes mental health. So we have, you know, people who do artwork of someone who makes candles, and has a candle business on the side, we have someone who’s a yoga instructor. So every person, you know, really has something that they feel like, promotes, healthy, you know, mind and body. And that person every two months, one person gets in charge and posts a meetup where they teach everyone else how to do that thing. And again, like I said, this is for us, it’s a way to promote mental health, but also promote collaboration and connection and shared meaning.
The next thing that we do is we have a monthly BIPOC support group, where it’s run by someone we pay to provide support to those staff in our practice, so that they have a safe space to process what’s going on at work what’s going on in life. That’s been something that they found very valuable. And I really equally find valuable that that we’re able to offer that.
The next mental health initiative thing that we offer is monthly, we call them coffee talk sessions, it’s essentially a support group for our team as a whole.
And every month, one supervisor hosts it. We have three supervisors. So every three months, one hosts it and they model that vulnerability. And it’s really all about getting out of the work hat and getting into the human hat of connecting, you know, talking about whatever it is that they’re working on, that’s a positive thing, whatever it is that they’re struggling with. So they can get support from their team, it builds a culture of trust and connection. And, you know, we recently started it, and people are really loving, just having a space where it’s not about work. It’s not about metrics, it’s not about whether they got their notes done on time or not, but really a space where they can model that vulnerability and get support if they need it.
The next thing we have is called bucket list. And essentially, we created these cards, where they can write down personal intentions or goals that they have, and our supervisors at their team meetings every month, we’ll say them out loud, whether it’s anonymous or not. It’s a place where our team can feel like they can put out into the world any personal or professional goals or intentions that they have, and will breathe life into them during our team meetings. It’s very simple. But it’s a way for our team to know that we value them not only in a professional capacity, but also in a personal one. And it allows the team to hear each other’s goals and their intentions with their lives.
And then the last thing, which is our most costly mental health initiative that we added to this initiative is EAPs.
We partnered with a local EAP and we’re able to offer six EAP sessions per presenting issue. And we really like the mission of the EAP we went with because they include everyone in the family and not just in a household but our our staff’s parents can be a part of it. Our staff’s, partners, their children, their own siblings can be a part of it. And so it’s not just, you know, a partner and children that are part of that family. Really, anyone who is considered family, however they consider family is a part of that and can get EAP sessions as well. And that’s covered at 100% by us, for all of our team members and their family members, which is really great. And we’ve seen, you know, staff already starting to use it, which is great.
So that’s what our mental health and wellness initiative looks like. And I hope that it inspires you to look at how you’re promoting mental health in your practice, how you’re reducing stigma, mental stigma, even within your own practice, I know we all like to think that we don’t have mental stigma as therapists, but you know, how we place value or not on our staff’s, mental health plays a big role on that. And so I hope that inspires you to look at what you’re doing as a business owner to support the mental health of your team members, and not just now during a time of pandemic and high stress, but also in the future. AIt’s the end of the year so it is the perfect time to start looking at the benefits that you offer, the way you support your team.
And I really want to end with you know, no matter where you’re at financially, as a business owner, no matter how much extra money you have laying around to add additional benefits, there are always benefits that are low cost or free, that are going to make a world of a difference to your team. You can even start by looking at that.
Anyways, if you have any questions about our mental health initiative, or you want to brainstorm ways to adopt your own mental health initiative, feel free to post in the Facebook group and we can all help you out.
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Thanks For Listening
Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.
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Meet your host
Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:
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