Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘Our availability to be treated is limited’: Mental health in workplace highlighted in Anchorage Chamber presentation

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce held a presentation Monday at their “Make it Monday” forum, to discuss how to better approach mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Members heard from Jessica Kopischke, CEO and owner of Frontier Health and Wellness, about how Alaskans can better their mental wellness options in the workplace, and where to find solutions for treatment.

She highlighted how untreated mental health conditions are the greatest cause for employee disability claims in the U.S., and that employers need to take action to ensure their colleagues are in a healthy state of mind, and to make their work environment safe.

“As an employer, you want your team and your employees to respect you and your business, you need to reciprocate that,” Kopischke said. “You need to make them want to respect your business, want to be the best they can, and when that happens, they feel safe. Safety as an employee is a big deal.”

Different companies will have different opportunities for you to approach mental health treatment. Kopischke went on to give a few of those examples.

“Know who your resources are. Educate yourself on the resources at home, and in your workplace,” she said. “Know — if you have an insurance plan for employees — what your insurance plan has to offer. If there’s an EAP program, what providers in town take that insurance, what systems are offered?”

Kopischke didn’t shy away from the difficulties of seeking mental wellness treatment in Alaska.

“We live in Alaska, we already know things are limited. Our availability to be treated is limited,” Kopischke said. “Mental health is a heavy subject, it’s an aggressive subject, it’s a sad subject. People don’t like talking about it as much because it is hard. And up here, it’s even harder … it’s okay not to be okay. There’s a time and a place where it’s needed to be managed. But it’s okay when you’re not okay.”

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