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Business leaders say companies need to do more for their employees mental health

Jon Reed
Leaders from Utah companies and business organizations announced a new mental health campaign at the Strong Used Car dealership in Salt Lake City.

A group of Utah business leaders are launching a new campaign they hope can improve mental health in the workplace.

It’s part of Live On Utah, a statewide effort aimed at suicide prevention and raising awareness around mental health resources. The new iteration stresses the need for business owners and organizations to address the mental health concerns of their employees.

“Our goal is to create a movement, along with all Utah businesses, to help turn this tide,” said Derek Miller, CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

Miller’s organization partnered with the Utah Suicide Coalition to create a toolkit employers can use to offer more mental health resources for their employees.

The 18-page document offers suggestions for how to identify employees experiencing high levels of stress, providing training and other resources to address concerns and making conversations around mental health a more central focus in staff meetings.

During a press conference Tuesday, Judy Copier, market president of iHeartMedia in Salt Lake City, said she’s known two people who’ve died by suicide in the last three years. But she didn’t know how to help them.

“We have to address this issue inside our own organizations,” Copier said. “We have to have that safe and open environment where people feel like they can discuss it with others.”

David Utrilla, president of the Utah-based US Translation, said he’s fully in support of the campaign. He said addressing mental health has become even more pressing during the pandemic, as people have lost jobs, contracted COVID-19 and seen the boundaries between their work and personal life fade away.

“We are not all professionals,” he said. “We don't know the answers, but there are resources out there. There are people that know how to handle this. And yes, there is hope.”

Employers can find more information about the resources at the Live On Utah website.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Utah Crisis Line at 801-587-3000 or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.

Jon reports on quality of life issues, education and the economy
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