One in five American adults suffers from some form of mental health disease each year.Saddle Brook, N.J.-based ChemTec Pest Control is helping to destigmatize mental health disorders by focusing customer communications on Mental Health Awareness Month information.
For the month of May, ChemTec’s blogs, social media posts, bill inserts and technician leave-behinds will talk about mental health. Technicians are wearing bright green gloves and booties (the Mental Health Awareness Month color) as well as special buttons and lanyards — all in an effort to show customers their support and start the conversation. Customer information includes facts about the mental illness crisis, local support center information, and messages to encourage stigma-free communications.
“Mental health awareness is about understanding mental illness as a disease,” says Laura Broadwell, a ChemTec WeCare customer specialist who organized many of the activities. “We want people to be comfortable talking about mental health without the stigma.”
ChemTec has been gearing up for Mental Health Awareness Month for several months. “We’ve always been a big supporter of our local mental health support organizations, but this year we decided to make our involvement personal, because it is personal for so many of us,” says Mary Vongas, ChemTec’s president. Employees have had training with guest speakers about the different disorders. Vongas also arranged a “Mindfulness” session with a local instructor to focus on relaxation and reducing the employees’ own stresses throughout the day.
“Seven-thirty in the morning, there’s 30-plus employees in the room deep-breathing with their eyes closed and no one fell asleep. That is commitment,” Vongas quips. “But seriously, I have so much respect for our group, their interest and actions in getting mental health into normal conversation. I couldn’t be prouder.”