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Empowering minds: UWG focuses on well-being in annual Women Empowering Women event 

by Abby Grizzard

The University of West Georgia’s Richards College of Business celebrated the strength and resilience of women representing diverse experiences during the Women Empowering Women Luncheon on March 8 in honor of International Women’s Day.

Tramaine EL-Amin, the vice president for Mental Health First Aid USA at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing in Washington, D.C., offered words of inspiration to the women of UWG’s community, focusing on mental health and its role in the workplace.

“At the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, our vision is to make mental well-being thrive, and we want that to be a reality for everyone,” explained EL-Amin.

She characterizes mental well-being as a combination of mental health and health equity, the latter defined as attaining the highest level of health for all people, regardless of cultural demographics or socio-economic factors. The workplace can impact mental well-being immensely and contribute to health equity through mental health resources for employees.

“We know that the inability to discuss struggles results in losses of productivity in the workplace, yet we often see that organizations wait until something happens to react rather than being proactive,” she said.

EL-Amin continues to say that women, in particular, are susceptible to these mental health struggles that need support due to the expectation for them to assume positions in both caregiving and professional roles.

“There is good news,” said EL-Amin. “There are way more people in the workplace who are willing to have difficult conversations than were willing to do so before. For the first time, we’re seeing the numbers around mental health stigma go down and more people accessing services.”

EL-Amin and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing contribute to this through several initiatives. One of them is Mental Health First Aid. This training program – offered to the UWG community through the Center for Integrative Wellness – teaches individuals to assess what’s happening, listen non-judgmentally and give reassurance and information to encourage people to get help in tangible ways.

She believes in the importance of investing in women and, in turn, investing in the future of our society by providing employees at organizations with the tools to support one another and achieve well-being, such as Mental Health First Aid. She offers UWG accolades for the steps taken to help employees and students support their well-being.

“The University of West Georgia has a robust well-being program: You have a chief wellness officer, all of your departments are plugged in, and you’re doing engaging things to ensure health and well-being are central,” explained EL-Amin.

Luncheon attendees were left with a message to promote mental well-being.

“It’s okay to slow down. We can always take a moment to slow down, a moment of solitude, a moment to check in on ourselves and others, despite the pace of work,” said EL-Amin. “We can find moments to unplug and discover things that bring us joy.”

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