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Mental Health at Work

Mental Health at Work

One of the things that has been loud and clear over the last few years is that we have a mental health crisis in this country. During the MG100 weekend we heard about the exponential and frightening increase in mental health-related emergency visits.

I can’t help but think about how mental health is often misinterpreted, sometimes leading to tragic results as in the case of Elijah McClain, an autistic man, who died after a violent police encounter. It didn’t matter that he tried to explain that he did not like to be touched.

One of the simplest things we can do to improve our mental health is to connect. Feeling like we are not alone is shown to make the biggest difference in the likelihood of teens attempting suicide. One such teen shared, “If one person had asked how I was doing, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

But here’s the thing, we often say, “How are you?” But how often do we mean it? We say it, but are we asking the question?

My one idea for improving mental health and increasing the feeling of connectedness is simply to ask, “How are you doing?” Then listen and care about the response.

But how do we do this at work, where we have so many other things going on? One company has tried to create a mental health program because there’s still a stigma around the topic. Coaching, though not typically performed by a mental health professional, has been shown to enable people to create stronger work relationships resulting in a feeling of connectedness.

Even better… group coaching and connect groups. Experiencing something together allows people to go deep fast and stay connected longer.

A connect group enables you to build relationships and learn not just what somebody does but why they do it, what drives them, a little bit about where they’re coming from, how they think, what’s important to them.

If you want your people to feel better every day, give them the structure and opportunity to build better work relationships.


Michelle Tillis Lederman, (CSP, PCC, SCC, MBA) is an expert on workplace communications and relationships. Named by Forbes as one of the Top 25 Networking Experts, and one of the Top 30 Communications Professionals in the World by Global Gurus. Michelle is a speaker, trainer, executive coach, and author of four books including The Connector's Advantage and The 11 Laws of Likability. She was invited to the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches Group, “100 Coaches Community brings together the world’s premier leadership thinkers” to seek ways to advance positive impact and give back to society. 

An executive coach, people expert, and CEO of Executive Essentials, Michelle inspires organizations and individuals to build real relationships and get real results. Having worked with fortune 500, non-profit, university and government clients she’s identified the common struggle… it’s people challenges. When asked by her young son what she does, she simply replied, “I help people work better together.” This purpose has driven her work with clients large and small including JPMorgan, J&J, Deutsche Bank, Michigan State University, MetLife, Sony, Ernst & Young, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Madison Square Garden.

She received her BS from Lehigh University, her MBA from Columbia Business School, holds the PCC designation from the International Coaching Federation, and is certified in Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching method. Executive Essentials is a certified Women Business Enterprise.

You may also contact Michelle at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule her for speaking or leadership engagements.


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