The first step to tackling mental health is to normalize the conversation about it—and that’s what the American Heart Association’s CEO Roundtable is doing. In honor of World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, 46 CEOs from leading U.S. companies and organizations unite their voices to kick off a nationwide public awareness campaign, “Sharing,” proving that sharing mental health concerns with the right people can help.
“Mental health awareness is vital to everything we do as a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives,” said Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association. “Our CEO Roundtable members are driving innovations in employee health and committed to improve the lives of their employees and family members so they can live their best life.”
According to a Harris Poll survey, 76% of employees have struggled with at least one issue that affects their mental health—that’s three in four people of our American workforce. Yet, mental health remains a stigmatized topic.
At a time when a quarter of Americans cite work as their greatest source of stress, the responsibility of corporate America becomes clear: CEOs must lead the conversation, and the change, to build a mental health-friendly workplace.
“Sharing” aims to normalize the conversation around mental health, reduce stigma, and help employees engage with company-provided resources to address this prevalent health issue. The campaign launches with members of the Association’s CEO Roundtable pledging to promote the mental health resources available through their companies. The campaign includes national runs of PSAs across radio and TV, and an employee toolkit deployed to thousands of companies the Association works with every day.
In 2013, the American Heart Association (AHA) formed its CEO Roundtable—a leadership collaborative that has grown to 46 members who collectively represent more than 10 million employees and their family members. The Roundtable is committed to implementing evidence-based approaches to rising health challenges to empower employees and build stronger corporate cultures. With a focus on real-world, actionable strategies, the Roundtable seeks to create solutions and systemic change for companies across the country.
The campaign was created by Leo Burnett. Andrew Swinand, CEO of Leo Burnett North America, is a member of the CEO Roundtable, and recently served as Chairman of the 2019 Chicago Heart Ball, AHA’s annual gala.
“Social media has ingrained the act of ‘sharing’ in our culture today—because when you share you’re not alone. We’re leveraging this behavior as a creative solution to normalize mental health, an issue that three out of four employees face,” said Swinand. “Our hope is to lead by example and show how sharing really can make a difference in people’s lives, reducing stigmas and breaking down social barriers to create a safer, more supportive and accepting world.”
Executive peers and employees are encouraged to join the campaign and share their personal experiences dealing with mental health, hashtagging #WeStandwith76 on social media. For more information about the campaign and to download assets, visit www.heart.org/sharing.