January 20, 2022

Independent Health awarded platinum Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health by Mental Health America (MHA)

Independent Health is among the first organizations in the country and the only in Western New York to be certified by MHA

Independent Health has been awarded the 2022 platinum Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health by Mental Health America (MHA). The Bell Seal is a first-of-its-kind workplace mental health certification that recognizes employers who strive to create mentally healthy workplaces for their employees.

Founded in 1909, MHA is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the overall mental health of all. MHA has spent decades researching mental health in the workplace, and in 2019, MHA introduced the Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health to recognize companies and organizations that understand the value of addressing mental health at work and implement policies and practices that support employee well-being.

“Independent Health understands mental health, just like physical health, is a critical part of an individual’s overall health and wellbeing. As such, we are deeply committed to treating the whole person. We take pride in helping our associates, members and employers recognize the signs, understand what people are dealing with, and respond appropriately to support their mental health,” said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health.

Independent Health is the only organization in Western New York to be certified by MHA. Independent Health’s status as a platinum-level Bell Seal-certified organization demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to employee mental health and well-being, which in turn is instilled in the company’s wellness and mental health programming for its employer groups and members.

Independent Health employs a comprehensive team of mental health professionals – including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, social workers, pharmacists, licensed counselors and behavioral health case managers – dedicated to helping members obtain timely, individualized and effective evidence-based care and treatment for mental health issues and substance use disorders.

In addition, Independent Health offers a mental health toolkit for its employers. Developed in partnership with Horizon Health Services, one of the largest providers of outpatient mental health and substance use treatment in Western New York, this turnkey toolkit for employers includes a variety of resources and educational seminars to help increase awareness, provide support and further develop a caring, inclusive workplace culture.

“No one is untouched, either directly or indirectly, by mental and behavioral health issues. In particular, these challenges can significantly impact businesses through higher healthcare costs, increased absenteeism, and lower productivity and profits,” said George Burnett, M.D., medical director for behavioral health, Independent Health.

According to the CDC, depression alone causes an estimated 200 million lost workdays each year at the cost of $17 to $44 billion to employers. This has led to a growing number of businesses starting to break the stigma of mental illness by increasing mental health awareness and providing education and tools to their leadership team, managers, and employees, explained Dr. Burnett.

The Bell Seal recognizes employer advances in workplace mental health by awarding recognition levels of Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. To earn the platinum-level designation from MHA, Independent Health underwent a rigorous evaluation of its policies and practices in five areas: workplace culture, benefits, wellness programs, legal compliance, and leadership and community engagement. Earning the highest Platinum-level award demonstrates Independent Health’s superior dedication to employee well-being for outstanding scores in:

  • Expansive employee growth opportunities
  • Competitive and mental health-friendly benefits packages
  • Emphasis on and commitment to work-life balance
  • Willingness to go above and beyond ethical standards
  • Committed and mental health-conscious leadership

Independent Health is committed to providing the best for its associates and members and looks forward to upholding the high standards set forth by the Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health. More information about MHA and the Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health is available at www.mhanational.org/bestemployers.

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