The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Society hosts event promoting workplace discussion of mental illness

Society hosts event promoting workplace discussion of mental illness - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Panelists participate in the 2019 Spring Learning Event, "Immigration: Economic Realities and Workplace Opportunities" hosted by the university's chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management on April 9,2019 at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. The society is hosting a virtual event on Oct. 20 to discuss mental illness and the workplace. Photo provided by The Society for Human Resource Management at Texas A&M University-San Antonio

The Society for Human Resource Management at Texas A&M University-San Antonio will host a Mental Illness and the Workplace free virtual event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 20 through Adobe Connect.

The event will focus on the stigmas of mental illness in the workplace. Four speakers will be covering information about mental health and mental illness in the workplace.

Event speakers include Ruby Suresh, a mental health diplomat from Johnson & Johnson corporate headquarters; Dan Ferris, an economist from Washington University in St. Louis; Dr. Rene Olvera, vice chair for community psychiatry at UT Health San Antonio and chief medical officer of the Center for Health Care Service; and Gilbert Gonzales director from the Bexar County Department of Behavioral Health. 

The event is inspired by an article by the Society For Human Resource Management.

The article found that 61% of workers said their productivity was affected by their mental health, and 37% said their work stress, working conditions and working environment contributed to their symptoms. 

“People spend a lot of time at work and might be viewed as a weak person once they inform their co-workers that they suffer from depression or are experiencing some type of mental crisis,” said Dr. Adrian Guardia, Instructional Associate Professor, Founder & Faculty Adviser and College Relations Director for the San Antonio Human Resource Management Association. “Often people don’t know how to respond to that. Sometimes it brings out the worst behaviors or we don’t know how to interpret what we observe.” 

According to the article, mental illness is often stigmatized in the workplace, and it’s time for employees to speak up about it. 

There are many resources that can help mental health, but we have to make it our responsibility to communicate to everyone,” Guardia said. There should be no shame in reaching out for help. Better to do that before the circumstances escalate.” 

The Mental Illness and the Workplace event is open to students, staff and personnel, as well as to the general public.

Business professionals will be able to receive two credit hours for educational credits. Business professionals attending the event for accreditation should email the Society for Human Resource Management at sherm@tamusa.edu. They will need to complete a survey before receiving a link to the event.

Guardia said this is the society’s first virtual event. 

“This issue has become an increasingly critical topic in need of attention,” Guardia said. “It has always been a problem, but now it’s the time to do something about it.” 

The purpose of the Mental Illness and the Workplace event isn’t only to help the workplace personnel, but to help anyone who seeks help for their mental health.The goal for this event is  being able to provide resources that could advise and professionally help those seeking help.  Bringing awareness and actually doing something about it can help and save many. 

“We hope one of the speakers, Dr. Olvera, can help us understand what falls within the space of mental illness and mental health. What are their many forms and how can we recognize it?” said Guardia.

Gonzales will discuss community mental health services and community behavioral health initiatives while Ferris discusses the impact of mental illness on the economy. Suresh will describe how Johnson and Johnson is working to destigmatize mental illness in the workplace.

“They have hundreds of thousands of employers all over the world. They have developed their program called The Mental Health Diplomate,” Guardia said. “In effect what they’ve done is that they deputize employees at Johnson and Johnson all over the company to assist to be advocates to their peers.”

Working together can reduce the stigma of mental illness in the workplace, Guardia said. 

“As a community we have to do something that helps us recognize these issues for what they are, and come up with solutions that minimize the negative outcomes that we have been experiencing,” Guardia said. 

For more information email adrian.guardia@tamusa.edu or call 210-784-2332.

To join the Mental Illness and the Workplace event visit http://tamusa.adobeconnect.com/r6qicn1isr8/

Correction: This story was updated at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 20 to clarify the title of Dr. Rene Olvera, who was previously identified as chief medical officer from UT Health San Antonio.

About the Author

Karla Monsivais
Karla Monsivais
Karla Monsivais is a communications junior with a minor in business administration at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. When not doing homework, she loves making resin art pieces and filming makeup tutorials. In her spare time she enjoys going outdoors and taking videos and pictures of what she seems to find interesting and unique. In the future she plans on pursuing a career in the radio industry as a radio host for a Spanish station.

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