Mental Health Awareness Month provides the chance to shine a spotlight on mental health and its importance to overall health and well-being.
This month, we continue our series on our employee resource groups (ERG) with a look at our Mental Wellness and Disability ERG.
Spotlight on Mental Wellness and Disability
The stigmas that often accompany mental health and disability in the workplace can affect many of us. Securian Financial’s Mental Wellness and Disability (MW&D) resource group provides a safe, supportive and welcoming group for those who are focusing on their mental wellness or living with mental or physical disabilities — and for those who are family, friends and allies of these individuals.
Through events, resources and publications, the MW&D resource group provides education and awareness and seeks to normalize conversations about mental wellness and disability for the Securian Financial community.
“I have been affected by anxiety and post-traumatic stress throughout my adult life, so I appreciate having support resources and knowing I can find connections at work through the MW&D group,” said Nicole Carlson, MW&D co-chair and project/program management director at Securian Financial. “Also, as a leader of people, I’m an advocate for normalizing conversations around mental health and disability. I know firsthand that these conversations can be difficult, so this is a gap that I believe is important to fill.”
Creating more understanding, breaking down barriers and dispelling myths about mental health and disabilities helps each of us to bring our authentic selves to work — which is central to Securian Financial’s diversity, equity and inclusion work.
The group’s goals are to:
- Normalize mental health- and disability-related conversations in the workplace
- Provide awareness of volunteer opportunities to support mental wellness and disability causes
- Engage leaders and allies in the group’s work
- Work with stakeholders to advance wellness and disability resource options for employees, customers and channel partners
“The group has been a passion project for me from the very beginning, and I am so excited to see how quickly it has grown and evolved,” said Terri Yira, MW&D co-chair and Enterprise Technology project manager at Securian Financial. “In the year 2000 my family was graced with a beautiful baby girl who happened to also have Down syndrome. She brought to our family a whole new set of eyes through which to view the world. I continue to be amazed and humbled by the way she changes perceptions of everyone she meets. She forces people to let go of their expectations for her and to see what she is capable of. She has convinced me that this world is a better place when we truly ensure we have everyone at the table and when we allow all voices to shape the world we live in.”
The MW&D group formed in 2021 and achieved notable results in a short time, including:
- Raised $3,721 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk in 2021
- Teamed up for Securian’s corporate campaign around Mental Health Month in 2021 and 2022
- Distributes monthly wellness calendars to employees with daily tips to focus on mental health
- Hosted 16 events for the Securian Financial community in the group’s first 10 months as an ERG
- Several events are planned for Mental Health Awareness month this year, including sharing personal stories with NAMI, self-care conversations and volunteer opportunities