Being Mindful About Mental Health
Every May, SEIU Local 1000 participates in Mental Health Awareness Month, a national movement to raise awareness about mental health to provide support for Americans affected by mental illness and the stigmas surrounding it.
The Accessibility Committee is an important part of SEIU Local 1000’s services for our members, raising awareness and fighting for accessibility for state workers with different needs. When it comes to the mental health of state workers, we want to help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness, which prevents many members from accessing the health care we already have fought for and won during previous bargaining cycles.
One of the major problems regarding mental health care for state workers is comfortable access to care. The Employee Assistance Program, run by the State of California, is directly tied to our employer. “It’s not as private as it should be, and a lot of people have a hard time negotiating the phone system due to privacy concerns,” said Amy Valdez, chair of the Accessibility Committee. “For some, this exacerbates the stigma when there is a fear that an employer will use this information against them.” Additionally, the EAP is limited in the range of services provided to therapy. While it is a potential resource for many members, it’s not the only option.
We’re able to have more personalized and private therapy sessions, as well as other treatment through our health care benefits. “Our health care benefits usually provide the best options for people to have more mediums of treatment,” said Valdez. “This isn’t a conversation look for a one size fits all solution but finding ways to take advantage of the resources around state workers as we fight to expand them.”
The Accessibility Committee is a human rights committee, and their focus on supporting working people in their workplaces and in the community has led to a number of events that raise awareness for members who need to access these resources and offer assistance to members who are looking for better options.
“We have a call for state workers interested in mental health on the 24th to promote Mental Health Awareness Month,” said Valdez. “We will feature speakers and resources that will be helpful for members struggling with these issues.”
To contact the Accessibility Committee, click here.