Proactive mental health should be funded like 'yearly mammograms', exec says

The importance of mental wellbeing is more widely recognized today than in years past.

Jennifer Ziccardi Colson, RN, BSN, Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health's chief nurse executive and vice president for the behavioral health service line, spoke with Becker's about why mental wellbeing is so important for healthcare workers.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Jennifer Ziccardi Colson: As leaders, it is imperative we create an atmosphere where our teammates are cared for immensely in order for them to take care of our greatest assets, our patients and families. Teammates need to come to work mentally prepared for the day ahead of them.  When our teammates are struggling, all suffer as a result.

Healthcare has a huge opportunity right now to embrace behavioral health not only for the patients we serve but our teammates.  Mental health days are needed and required. Mental wellness fairs and self-care opportunities are needed and should be funded by the organization, equivalent to yearly mammograms and physicals funded through healthcare benefits.

I am excited to learn how other healthcare organizations can work together to embrace mental wellness in the workforce.

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