Research shows that Black women are less than half as likely to seek help for mental health issues than white women. That means skipping out on resources that can help improve quality of life in so many areas of life, including one’s career.
It’s very difficult to separate mental wellness and career success, especially when you’re operating at a high level, pursuing ambitious goals, and doing all of this in an environment that presents challenges to your mental health at every turn. While Black women can benefit from seeking mental health assistance from a professional, it’s also important for them to realize that the responsibility to protect their mental wellness shouldn’t fall entirely on them. Companies should take steps to protect and improve the mental health of their employees, particularly those at risk for issues.
Research has found that simply giving employees a forum to speak on race and gender issues in the workplace can alleviate stress surrounding these issues. The mere act of encouraging employees to speak openly about their concerns, in a safe space, on these matters, reduced their stress around those very matters. Of course, it goes beyond that when protecting the mental health of Black female employees, but it’s a start. We chatted with Watchen Nyanue, CEO of I Choose The Ladder, about issues threatening the mental health of Black women in the workplace, and what corporations can do about it.
Is racism killing your career?
When Nyanue’s virtual summit, The Climb, was live, there was a section dedicated to discussing Black women’s mental health in the workplace. It was one of the most talked-about sections, and many attendees asked why it wasn’t longer. This year, the session welcomed an HR professional to speak in a segment called “Is racism the silent killer of careers?” In it, they talked about how racism shows up in the workplace as it pertains to Black women and how it impacts their careers and mental health. She gives us a glimpse of that here.