Category: Mental Health, Employee Assistance Programme, bank of america, mindfulness, Emotional wellbeing
I’ve worked in HR at Bank of America for more than twenty years, and the question I get asked the most hasn’t changed — what makes Bank of America such a great place to work? The funny thing is, the answer hasn’t changed either: Our people.
Our people are the reason we’re successful. It was true in 2000, when I started with the company, and it’s true today. Every employee at every level brings a unique talent and perspective to work every day, and each contributes to our mission to drive responsible growth.
Our people are everything, which is why I’m acutely aware that it’s on us to support them. One of the ways we do this is by ensuring our teammates around the globe have the resources they need to support their physical, emotional and financial wellness. Otherwise, how can we expect them to be their best selves?
Of those three pillars of wellness, the truth is, emotional wellness is the most often overlooked. This is true despite its incredible impact on our total wellbeing. Whether you’re struggling to balance everyday stressors, grappling with a personal tragedy or experiencing the weight of chronic conditions — we’re all human, and we all experience ups and downs that impact our mental health. I understand that, both personally and professionally.
However, many still struggle to take care of themselves emotionally because of lingering stigmas around mental health and asking for support. One of the most important parts of my job is to help our company address and eliminate whatever concerns people may feel when they find themselves face to face with their own challenging moments.
So, how do we do that? We take a holistic approach to emotional wellbeing by creating awareness to reduce stigma, providing access to programs and benefits, and investing in research to support our communities.
Awareness is often the first step to de-stigmatization. Which is why, within our organization, we encourage open and ongoing discussions with employees about the importance of mental health in the workplace. Through our Take Time on Tuesday and Courageous Conversations series, we regularly tap experts to offer tips and guide dialogue around emotional wellness topics. Beyond these resources, we know feelings of acknowledgement can improve overall wellbeing. Implementing a Global Recognition Program to recognize, award and show gratitude towards teammates for their hard work has been effective for increasing positive feelings and boosting morale.
But concern for our teammates’ wellness doesn’t stop when they leave the office. By providing access to confidential counseling services, emotional wellness and resiliency trainings, mindfulness apps and Life Event Services benefits, we’re doing everything we can to give our people the right tools for managing their mental health and the mental health of their families — either individually, or with the help of professional services.
Our teammates’ response is showing us just how welcome – and necessary – these benefits are. In 2021, over 23,000 confidential counseling sessions were supported through our employee assistance programs (EAP), and we even began offering on-site EAP counselors in our core locations. We’re proud that our work with these programs is considered industry-leading, and that they positively impact the wellbeing of our employees — and even our business. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, for every $1 put into increased treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of $5 in improved health and productivity.
The scope for our mental health advocacy includes not only our employees and their families, but also the diverse communities where we live and work. After all, emotional wellbeing impacts them, too. Consider this: Mental illness affects 1 in 4 Black and Hispanic-Latino adults and is the second leading cause for school dropouts. Recognizing this as an urgent health and racial justice issue, Bank of America donated $1.35 million in grants to support mental health initiatives for young people of color. We distributed the funding to three life-changing organizations —One Mind, RADical Hope and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) — in an effort to expand resources for communities of color.
We invest in health and wellbeing because it’s the right thing to do. We know that each employee has a diverse set of needs that must be addressed with unique solutions. And we know that, though already broad, we must keep expanding our wellness programs so our teams and communities feel properly supported. We will continue to speak out about stigmatization and amplify conversations around mental health, and when it comes down to it, put our money where our mouth is. Because our colleagues are at the very core of our business. Each and every teammate deserves to be treated fairly, and with respect. And that, above all else, is what makes us such a great place to work.