Organizational practices to support young employees with mental health challenges

Presentation First Author: 
Tyson Herzog

Introduction: While maintaining meaningful employment is a salient issue for transitional aged youth (youth between the ages of 16 and 29; Carter & Wehby, 2003), few studies have examined the organizational factors that may support youth mental health. In this interactive presentation, we consider the ways in which the organizational practices and management styles within mental health organizations may impact the wellbeing of transitional-age employees who are/have been consumers of mental health services.

To advance knowledge in this area, the presenters will discuss the systemic and interpersonal factors associated with staff burnout in the mental health field (Stansfeld & Candy, 2006; Lasalvia et al, 2009). This will be contrasted with evidence-based organizational practices for promoting and maintaining a healthy work environment for adults, including practices associated with employee satisfaction (Harewood, 2013; Secker & Membry, 2003). To address the limitations associated with current literature in this area, key components of effective youth-adult partnerships (e.g. authentic decision making, natural mentorship, community connectedness and reciprocal activity) will also be explored (Zeldin et al., 2013). At the core of this presentation is the idea that meaningful, supportive employment is an important part of young peoples’ recovery - not an end product of the recovery process.

Methods: As with many other mental health sector employees, the presenters themselves have lived experience with mental health challenges before and during times of employment. Julia is a PhD student who works with youth in a variety of settings, including residential treatment and foster care. Tyson is a peer facilitator and youth engagement worker at the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH). The two presenters will weave their experiences in with relevant research to advocate for a collaborative approach to promoting youth mental health in the workplace.

Objectives: The two main objectives of this presentation are to:

1. Encourage reflection on participants’ organizational practices, including practices such as giving feedback, scheduling, and structuring meetings, and daily communication

2. Discuss strategies for supporting the mental health of young employees

Practice/Policy Implications: This presentation will encourage participants to think about cutting edge, practical, and cost-effective strategies for supporting and collaborating with young employees with lived experience. These strategies have major implications for the daily operations, policies and procedures of mental health organizations.

Conclusion: By encouraging reflection and discussion in this area, we hope to inspire more research in this important area and contribute to the wellbeing of young employees worldwide.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
9th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
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