How to Foster Open Conversations About Mental Health in the Workplace Through Employee Communications

Mar 10, 2023
Go Beyond the Surface with Purdue

The spotlight is shining on mental health in the workplace—and with good reason. If employees are struggling at work, they’re likely struggling outside of work, too—and vice versa. So, to improve engagement, performance, retention (and don’t forget healthcare costs!), organizations are making an intentional effort to create a culture of support and well-being—one that breaks down the stigma around mental health so employees can share mental health struggles without fear or concern.

Beyond official HR policies, what do mental health communication efforts look like?

Cummins Mental Health Example

Cummins Inc., a global power technology leader, launched a global “It’s OK” campaign in 2020 that aims to normalize the mental health struggles which we all face in life and encourages employees to take action to improve their mental wellness.

Each month, Cummins uses the campaign to remind employees that how they feel mentally and emotionally is just as critical as how they feel physically. Sometimes, topics are “lighter”—like kindness, gratitude or happiness; other times, they’re “heavier” and tackle suicide or substance use. Cummins strives to normalize all topics as things anyone can encounter. Communications often include practical and tangible ways to address an issue or reach out for help.

Purdue University is undertaking a similar effort with its “Beyond the Surface” as its campaign theme. It’s a call to action to go deeper to break the stigma around mental health. The university hopes it will spark conversations at home, with their families and within the community. As part of a more holistic Healthy Boiler program, its goal is to compel employees to recognize and share the importance of mental wellness in their lives.

Launching an Employee Mental Health Campaign

While a theme can be an identifier for employees, you don’t need one to start talking about mental health with your employees. There are countless topics you can address that will show your employees you care about them holistically and want to create a culture that supports employees in all aspects of their lives.

Topics to get you started include:

  • Handling stress
  • Preventing burnout
  • Building healthy relationships
  • Signs and symptoms that you may be struggling
  • Talking about mental health
  • Caring for yourself

Need Ideas? Download our Mental Health Communications Toolkit!

This quick reference highlights some of the best ways companies are creating a culture focused on mental wellness and a few practical ways for you to get started.

How to Foster Open Conversations About Mental Health in the Workplace Through Employee Communications


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