OSHA Launches Initiative to Address Workplace Mental Health Awareness

May 18, 2023
During National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, OSHA is working with Georgia agencies to promote safety stand-downs.

During National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, OSHA wants employers to consider the role that workplace stress may have in their business. OSHA has a workplace stress toolkit for employers with guidance, training, real-world solutions, and outreach materials to help improve employee mental health and well-being.

As part of the Department of Labor’s Mental Health at Work Initiative, the agency is bringing more awareness to help employers gain confidence in talking to workers about workplace stress, mental health and substance use. It is also working to help employers dispel myths that might make workers afraid to voice their concerns and talk about workplace stressors or mental health challenges.

Holding Stand-Downs in Georgia
OSHA is collaborating with the Georgia Department of Public Health and Mental Health America of Georgia, referred to as the Georgia Mental Health Alliance, to protect workers and encourage employers to hold safety stand-downs during National Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

"Nearly everyone faces workplace stress. Left unchecked, the strain may lead to serious mental illness. Employers must recognize these mental health challenges can have a direct impact on workers' and co-workers' safety and health," said OSHA Area Director Jeffery Stawowy in Atlanta-West. "Guiding employees toward resources to protect and improve workers' mental health makes good business sense. OSHA offers many resources and materials for employers to develop workplace programs to support mental health and help employees seek assistance."

The initiative calls on companies to use the benefits offered by a stand-down to stop all work for a safety meeting focused on the importance of workers caring for their mental health and supporting their co-workers' well-being. The three-pillar objective provides information, resources and empowerment to help employers reduce exposure to mental health stressors and prevent work-related suicide. Numerous resources are available for employers to support this initiative, including guides from OSHA's workplace stress page.

Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month is observed in the United States in May to help raise national awareness in support of the nearly one in five U.S. adults who lives with a mental illness. Workplace stress ranks high among stressors, causing about 120,000 deaths each year. In one survey, about 65 percent of U.S. workers said work was a very significant or somewhat significant source of stress in each year from 2019-2021.

For more information, contact OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office at 678-903-7301. You can also learn more about OSHA's workplace stress reduction efforts. Dowload a flier here

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