Elevating the conversation on mental health and addiction
As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, we must remain focused on long-term challenges we face in society every single day. Mental health issues such as addiction, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide all are a part of the daily struggles faced by millions of families across the world.
As the leader of the Leidos Health Group, I'm incredibly proud of the work we do in support of our employees, customers and the communities in which we serve. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic and return to something approaching our normal lives, we need to remember that mental illness, without care and treatment, can have long-lasting and devastating effects.
Protecting our people
As an employer of more than 40,000 people across the U.S. and beyond, Leidos has a critical role to play both in reducing the stigma around mental health and addiction and increasing accessibility of resources. Mental health and well-being are at the center of our Build a Better You program that helps employees achieve their personal wellness goals. The program’s offerings include health and wellness challenges with opportunities to earn points toward rewards, free premium access to the Headspace app, regular wellness education sessions, expansions to our Employee Assistance Program, additional paid time off and expanded optional benefit offerings. We are committed to making certain everyone at Leidos has the access to support and resources they need to build and maintain the best version of themselves.
Our commitment to mental health and well-being in the workplace also extends to the important work for our customers in federal and defense health agencies. For nearly four decades, Leidos has worked with the U.S. military to support improved performance, resilience and wellness among our service members. We provide military personnel and their families with preventive and treatment services to guard not only their physical, but also their behavioral health. Through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, for example, we provide military personnel and their families with non-medical counseling services to identify and alleviate military life stresses before they rise to harmful levels.
Engaging the community
In 2017, Leidos employee John Hindman challenged our CEO, Roger Krone, to do more to address the growing opioid epidemic after his son, Sean, lost his life to an overdose. Directly as a result of hearing John's story and many like it within Leidos, Roger established the CEO Pledge. Organizations taking the pledge commit their time, talent and resources to help end the opioid addiction crisis through better education, support and access to services that are desperately needed. Today, the Leidos CEO Pledge has over 100 signatories and an expanded mandate -- one that will continue to address opioid addiction while also tackling broader mental health challenges of anxiety, depression and suicide. We have been privileged to support many organizations through our CEO Pledge, including CADCA, the Chris Atwood Foundation, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Milken Institute Center for Public Health.
Looking after our health and that of others isn't simply the treatment of an ailment or illness. It's a holistic mix of physical well-being, mental health, financial stability, food security, access to adequate employment and safe housing. Our collective focus must be on efforts to address addiction and overall mental health that will be critical to saving lives and helping improve the overall well-being of our communities.
Ending this crisis will require our nation’s leaders to act, mobilizing resources and responding quickly to initiate employee education, volunteerism and non-profit partnerships. Together, we can elevate the conversation around mental health and well-being.
Listen to the Washington Business Journal panel on Mental Health and Well-being in the Workplace to learn more about the steps you can take to elevate the conversation around you.