Why is mental health in the workplace the starting point for One Mind at Work?

The workplace and its leaders have a tremendous opportunity to improve the quality of life for most of the world’s population and play a critical role in well-being and mental health solutions. The average adult spends one-third of his or her life at work. When work is fulfilling, it can help an individual feel engaged, productive and alive. However, work-related concerns can exacerbate mental health problems including anxiety and depression. There’s also an interconnectivity between our personal and professional lives. We spend another one-third our lives pursuing personal interests. When our home lives are fulfilling, we’re able to bring our best selves to work. But when personal life challenges demand our attention, we can become distracted, upset and exhausted. With nearly one in five American adults experiencing a mental health issue in 2014, chances are everyone is working alongside someone who has experienced this – if they haven’t experienced it themselves. Among the major diseases, only cardiovascular disease affects more people.1
There’s also an economic imperative to addressing this area. Mental health conditions cost an estimated $201 billion in 2013, significantly outpacing heart disease, cancer and diabetes. At the same time, every $1 investment in mental health promotion has a $3 to $5 return on investment. There are significant economic implications of America’s currently high levels of absenteeism, presenteeism and lost productivity resulting from mental health conditions. Additionally, having a mental health condition such as depression significantly increases the likelihood of developing other physical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease, resulting in even greater healthcare costs.2 Mental health conditions also take a toll on caregivers who are looking after loved ones who are affected, resulting in another significant drain on workplace productivity that could be mitigated by the right support and care.
Unfortunately, mental health treatment systems from the workplace to medical facilities lack the integration needed to deliver existing, proven effective treatments for mental health conditions. We’ve made great strides in terms of making physical healthcare available, affordable, and measureable – and we can and should be making equal strides in mental health care.

1 Center for Disease Control; Journal of American Medical Association; National Cancer Institute
Chronic Illness and Mental Health

What can a company hope to gain by participating in this program?

Protecting, supporting and enhancing wellbeing, including employee mental health, is good business. Today’s economy requires an engaged, resilient and innovative workforce. Increased focus on mental health as a critical element of comprehensive employee well-being will:
  • Enhance the reputation of the organization, increase retention and recruitment and increase satisfaction
  • Reduce absenteeism, presenteeism and disability
  • Reduce employee-related risks and potential liabilities
  • Reduce costs and provide a positive return on investment

What will Founding Member CEOs be asked to do?

In the short term, we ask CEOs to convene as a group to review our priority areas for initial gains that we believe will pave the way forward and together identify the core components for a workplace gold standard of mental health. We then ask our CEOs and their teams to commit to driving these goals. We recognize that true systemic change takes time and we are advocating for a tactical approach to meaningful change.

How will the Founding Members of the One Mind at Work be selected?

We know that transformational change in the workplace originates in the C-Suite, and specifically with the CEO. We believe that a committed group of CEOs can galvanize and enable broad-scale transformation in how mental health is viewed and approached in the workplace, how healthcare is purchased under the new paradigm, and how we can gain equity, collaboration and parity between physical and mental health. 
We intend to take a pragmatic and flexible approach to our operations and recruitment, adapting to the fast-paced, ever changing environment of today’s society.  One Mind at Work will leverage the support and networks of Janssen, The Kennedy Forum and One Mind to identify interested leaders. We are also reaching out to companies and CEOs who are already demonstrating thought leadership and taking action on workplace mental health.

Beyond CEOs, who else will be involved in the One Mind at Work effort?

CEOs are the engine for driving transformative change in the approach to workplace mental health, and lead benefits coordinators, talent strategy staff and healthcare purchasers are vital to implementation. We envision CEOs supporting these colleagues to ensure they have the leadership, financial and administrative support to bring the transformational change to fruition. 
We will also leverage relationships with organizations of healthcare purchasers in the United States – such as the Pacific Business Group on Health and the Northeast Business Group on Health – to gather their meaningful perspectives into this process. 
To date, there are many organizations who share common goals in the mental health space by supporting mental health research, increasing access to mental health and addiction treatment and ensuring those who need treatment can access it in a timely manner. Implementing the changes we need is hard, but by coming together to increase integration and opportunities to scale, we can achieve even greater impact and longevity for many of these worthwhile efforts. 
Additionally, we will continue to engage leaders across other sectors including medicine, research, education, law enforcement, the military, civil society and internationally.

What is the organizational structure of One Mind at Work?

The activities of One Mind at Work will be supported and implemented by One Mind, a neuroscience research focused non-profit corporation, and The Kennedy Forum, a non-profit seeking to change how mental health and addictions are treated. Operationally, One Mind at Work will be operated as a program of One Mind which will administer contributions to One Mind at Work. An Executive Director will be appointed to support and implement the program’s initiatives. To guide the activities of One Mind at Work, the organizing members of the One Mind at Work will be entitled to membership on an Advisory Board that:
  • Advises on implementing the vision and mission of the One Mind at Work program
  • Oversees the administrative and strategic operations of the One Mind at Work program
  • Reviews and approves guidelines for membership
Participation in One Mind at Work is limited to principals of organizations, and not delegated. Active participation by a principal and his or her organization is a condition of continued involvement.
A meeting of participants will he held annually, with actions delegated to working groups to carry out specific projects in support of the program’s goals.

I am a CEO or other leader who's interested in participating in the One Mind at Work program. Where can I learn more and get involved?

To learn more or to sign on to the project, please contact