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Crushing the Mental Health Stigma 2021

The number of Americans living with mental health challenges increased by 1.5 million since last year’s report. However, even before the pandemic, this number was over 45 million nationwide.

According to the CDC, between August 2020 and February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%. The percentage of those reporting an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, many states have announced the importance of health awareness programs and emphasized the need for evidence-based training. But it's evident that the trend in mental health challenges is getting worse and only exacerbated by the persistent stigma that keeps people from speaking up.

We asked our OneDigital employees to share something they've learned that's changed their perspective on mental health and how they plan to crush the mental health stigma. The vulnerability, courage and strength that came pouring through were astounding. View the video, Crushing the Mental Health Stigma above, read the additional responses below and most importantly – take care of yourself and check in on your loved ones.

Angie Mosher, Human Capital Management Consultant, OneDigital Ohio

I plan to crush the mental health stigma by TALKING about it OFTEN. This past year, I opened up with family, friends and colleagues about my experiences with therapy in 2020 for myself and my son. I share that I was done trying to figure it out on my own and CHOSE not to continue struggling in silence.

Justin Adams, Financial Benefits Analyst, OneDigital Atlanta

I plan to crush the mental health stigma by being open with my own struggles and by committing to understanding others' struggles. There are a variety of mental health struggles, but people do not want to feel alone or ashamed. Connection and understanding can help move the conversation toward healing and growth.

Holly Forest, Vice President of Client Services, OneDigital Enterprise

Treatment, whether it involves medication, talk therapy, or time dedicated to self-care, should be encouraged any time an issue is causing problems in your life or relationships; ongoing "maintenance" is often part of the treatment process. It's certainly not a sign of weakness or personal failure. I'd love to see us move from categorizing things as "mental health" or "physical health" and just calling it all "health."

Alecia Hoglund, Sales Support Specialist, OneDigital Atlanta

I plan to crush the mental health stigma by not being afraid or ashamed to talk about my own mental health struggles. I feel that the more people are talking about it, the more accepted it will be to do so.

Rachael Caskey, Client Service Specialist, OneDigital Philadelphia

I plan to crush the mental health stigma by openly talking about my own personal mental health struggles in person and via social media.

Jackie Kish, Director of Client Operations & Engagement, OneDigital Atlanta

Almost everyone has experienced some kind and/or some level of mental health challenges. It's nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. When I've opened up and told people my story, I can see a flood of relief on their faces when they realize they aren't alone.

Sharon Singrey, Benefits Consultant, OneDigital Enterprise

We can ALL do better in the future by doing our part to encourage those who are suffering to reach out for help when needed.

Kelly Labellarte, Sr. Benefits Consultant, OneDigital Illinois

Mental health is nothing to mess around with and nothing to be ashamed of. Talking to someone helps with the healing process.

Patricia Martinez, Account Manager, OneDigital Pacific Region

I’ve learned that talking openly about my mental health, seeking treatment, and learning to empower myself and not be ashamed over something that is out of my control has changed my perspective on mental health.

Alexa Douglas, Recruiting Coordinator, OneDigital Atlanta

To let everyone know that no matter what, you are never alone, EVER. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness.

Lauren List, Communications Manager, OneDigital Philadelphia

I have so appreciated my coworkers who've asked me honestly how I am doing before a meeting and given me a safe space when I've had to say, "actually, not that ok." Sometimes just being able to vocalize it is all that is needed.

Jeanne Campbell, Benefits Consultant, OneDigital Virginia

The more open and honest you are, the more you realize you are just like everyone else, and you're not alone. Avoid feelings of isolation at all costs.

Barbara Ellis, Benefits Consultant, OneDigital Enterprise

We all deserve to live our best life, without getting in our own way with the stigma of mental health issues and leaving them untreated. Life is too short not to take action and to start living with joy.


Looking for more? Visit the Byte-Sized Benefits podcast for more essential ways to maximize your benefits. Discover solutions to support the overall health and wellbeing of your workforce, learn more about OneDigital Health & Wellbeing Consulting.