Friday, June 2, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Pride at Work

Pride Month has begun and we’re kicking it off by highlighting an organization that represents LGBTQ+ union members and their allies, Pride at Work.

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Washington D.C., Pride at Work is a nonprofit organization that “organizes mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBTQ Community to further social and economic justice.” Or as someone nicely summarized in this 5-minute introductory video, “it is the LGBTQ arm of the Labor Movement, it is the labor arm of the LGBTQ movement.”

With “nearly half (48.8%) of transgender employees reporting experiencing discrimination (being fired or not hired) based on their LGBTQ+ status” and companies using religious exemptions to circumvent civil rights laws, Pride at Work believes that “the strongest protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer working people is an inclusive union contract.” 

Examples of the issues they work to get addressed in union contracts and policies include workplace discrimination, religious exemptions, transgender working people, and bathroom access. In the resources section of their website, they provide model contract language that can be used when bargaining for a new contract. 

The resource section also has materials to educate union members and leaders so they can discuss LGBTQ+ issues effectively. There is an explanation of gender pronouns and recommendations on how to be more inclusive, for example addressing people in a meeting as “labor siblings” instead of “Sisters and Brothers”. There is also an LGBTQ+ 101 guide that provides basic definitions of terms and clarifies the difference between gender, gender identity and biological sex. Useful for anyone who wants a better understanding whether or not they are a union member.

If you’d like to get involved with Pride at Work, you can do so on a local level. With over 20 chapters across the country, there’s a good chance you’ll find one near you. To support them on a national level, you can shop for merch, make a donation and help raise awareness on social media. Like the Pride at Work Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @PrideatWork #1upride 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Asian Mental Health Collective

On the last Feel Good Friday of May, a month dedicated to both Asian American Pacific Islander heritage and mental health awareness, we’re highlighting an organization that addresses both themes, the Asian Mental Health Collective.

Founded in 2020, the mission of the Asian Mental Health Collective (AMHC) is “to normalize and de-stigmatize mental health within the Asian community.” 

The reason to focus on Asian mental health is explained on their website. “Culture influences our values, beliefs, and norms. For the Asian diaspora, many find that these aspects of our culture are barriers to identifying, discussing and accessing mental health literacy and resources.” This short video explains some of the challenges Asians face, including the model minority myth, acculturation differences and stigma around going to therapy.

For people who have overcome concerns about not showing weakness or being seen as ungrateful for what they have, AMHC has provider directories where you can search for Asian therapists in the United States and Canada. Once you find someone in your location, you can review their background and any specialty focus areas.

In order to help achieve their vision to “make mental health easily available, approachable, and accessible to Asian communities worldwide”, AMHC has several ways to get support virtually. You can join their private Facebook group, review videos of past meetings on their YouTube channel, or browse their resource library of hotlines and organizations dedicated to mental health in the Asian community. AMHC also offers access to support groups led by Asian therapists. Each group lasts for 8 weeks and there is no cost to attend the sessions.

To help the Asian Mental Health Collective continue their work, you can shop for merch, make a donation and help raise awareness on your favorite social media platform. Follow Asian Mental Health Collective on Facebook and on Instagram @asianmentalhealthcollective

Friday, May 19, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Mental Health America

May is Mental Health Month. It started as a week and was first launched in 1949 by Mental Health America. Sounds like a perfect time to learn more about this organization. 

Founded in 1909 by Clifford W. Beers, Mental Health America (MHA) is “the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all.” Or, as they succinctly put it on their social media sites, “Mental Health America is dedicated to helping people live mentally healthier lives.”

MHA is headquartered in Virginia with over 200 affiliates around the country. Their work is focused in three main areas: 

Education and outreach. Mental health conditions affect one in five adults in the United States every year. MHA encourages conversations about mental health that are free from stigma while also providing comprehensive and accurate information about mental health. They have screening tools to help you asses whether you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, self-help tools to address your mental health, and specialized toolkits, like this one focused on students heading back to school.

Public policy. MHA designs federal and state policy recommendations that promote: prevention for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated care and treatment for those who need it, and recovery as the goal. If you’d like to learn more you can read through their position statements.

Peer advocacy, supports and services. If you have the appropriate experience and training you can get certified as a peer specialist and work alongside healthcare teams. There are also peer support groups around the country you can join.

Once you’ve finished reading through all the resources MHA has on their website, take a moment to support their work. You can shop for merch, volunteer your time, donate your money and help raise awareness on your favorite social media platform. Follow Mental Health America on Facebook, on Twitter @MentalHealthAM, and on Instagram @mentalhealthamerica. #MentalHealthMonth