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How To Improve Your Employees' Mental Health with Jesse Curry - Overcoming The Mind

How To Improve Your Employees’ Mental Health with Jesse Curry

#007 – Jesse Curry is a military veteran, entrepreneur, and leadership expert.

Entrepreneurs need to worry more about just her own mental health. They need to worry about their employees’ mental health, too. 

Most employers in the United States do a terrible job of caring for their employees’ mental health. They don’t put in the time, effort, or energy. And they also don’t give the resources necessary for their employees to make their mental health a priority.

In this episode, Jesse and I share tactical strategies that you can use to truly care for your employees’ mental health.

Full Episode:


Johns Hopkins Research: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/mental-health-disorder-statistics

Link to our company’s website and internal page for mental health resources: ContentMarketingStrategy.co/mental-health

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Full Transcript

This transcript was done by a machine. We apologize for any errors.

News: (00:04)
The latest research shows mental health issues are indeed on the rise and this is costing business in real terms. The stigma associated with depression can still come into play when Canadians go to work. 40% of people say that their job is very or extremely stressful. They focus on mental health this month with the workplace very much in the spotlight. I think stress, rising stress and lack of self worth

Joey Randazzo: (00:38)
according to data. Over a third of entrepreneurs have employees on payroll and that does not include independent contractors and so entrepreneurs don’t only have their own mental health to worry about. They have their employees too and this is a big issue. Data has shown that, and this is quoted, depression results in more days of disability leave than chronic health diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. In this episode you’ll hear from Jesse Curry, a military veteran entrepreneur in leadership expert. Him and I talk about how you can be the best leader for your employees, mental health, not just their productivity.

Speaker 3: (01:24)

Joey Randazzo: (01:31)
hello and welcome to overcoming the mind. My name is Joey Randazzo.

Joey Randazzo: (01:56)
I’d like to thank one of our sponsors, American dream. U American genu helps military members and their families that transition back to civilian life and find their dream job or start a business. Everything they do is 100% free to military members in their families. To learn more, go to American dream. You the letter U. Dot org. As always, the full unedited version of this episode of the podcast can be found on our website. You can listen to the full unedited version with Jesse at overcoming the mind at [inaudible] dot com VAX slash seven

Joey Randazzo: (02:44)
Before we jump into the research and data about how to lead your employees from a mental health standpoint, I want you to listen to Jesse’s mental health story. I think it’ll give you a lot of context to what he says later in the episode

Jesse Curry: (03:01)
for my mental health journey. Along the way is as a part of my time in Afghanistan, when I was an intelligence officer, we had a, um, black Hawk that got shot down. And as a part of that, um, you know, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Right. But I took a lot of that personally on my own shoulders, um, because you know, it was my job to be the person that did the threat analysis. And even though I know I had mentioned this to leadership over and over, it was still determined we would go forward with the mission. Right. And sometimes that’s what you do. And um, but then after, you know, six out of seven people on the aircraft are deceased, then you start to really hold that against yourself. You know, in 2017 I’d been out for six, eight months. I thought I was dealing with everything.

Jesse Curry: (03:52)
Well, but then I was working 12, 14 hour days. I was working out, I was raising kids, I was doing everything else. And all of a sudden one night I thought I was having a heart attack and I found myself in the emergency room hooked up to EKG, [inaudible] and everything else and come to find out I wasn’t giving my body enough rest. And I went into something called rhabdomyolysis, which basically your body tissue starts to break down and your kidneys can’t keep up with it. And, and that was a wake up call for me because at that point I realized that I have to take a step back and allow people to do things for me. Um, and you know, with me,

Joey Randazzo: (04:35)
Jesse went through a really hard time after he got out of the military, he went to work for a large company and he, like many other employees in America, struggled with his mental health. According to Johns Hopkins university, 26% of American adults have a diagnosable mental health disability. So as an entrepreneur, let’s say you employ 40 adults, it’s likely that at least 10 of those adults have a mental health obstacle that they’re dealing with. That’s a lot. And for employers, it’s a huge issue. And frankly, in my opinion, the average employer does a terrible job taking care of their employees, mental health. Sure some do a great job, but the majority don’t. They don’t put the time, effort, energy into taking care of their employees, mental health, and with American spending most of their time at work. This is a huge deal. Jesse says it best

Jesse Curry: (05:35)
and as much as we would like to say that we can turn a switch and I’m at work and this is work Jessie. And then when I go home, this is homes. It doesn’t work that way.

Joey Randazzo: (05:44)
Your employees can’t just turn off their mental health obstacles when they go to work. And there are two main reasons why as an employer you should care. One, your employees are people with families with, with goals, and they deserve to be taken care of simply because they’re a human being. And then number two, which is less important but still important to you as a business owner, the quality of their mind will impact the quality of their work. So then how does Jessie recommend that you take care of your employees and mental health? He shared a story with me that really connected with me.

Jesse Curry: (06:23)
You know, it reminds me a little bit of a story I heard when I was in the military. You know, there is definitely a stigma in the military around mental health, which is unfortunate, but it does exist. It exists everywhere. Like we mentioned before, but a, a senior enlisted leader who would go to the behavioral health is what they call it in the, in the, in the army, you can go to behavioral health, um, once a week. And he would go and schedule an hour with one of the physicians there and he would go in and he personally had nothing wrong with him, but he would go in just so people saw him going in and they thought, Oh, well, you know, if this guy’s willing to go in, if the Sergeant major’s willing to go in and get treatment then then so can I, right.

Joey Randazzo: (07:05)
This is one way that you can do it. You can be an example with your mental health. You can go to a counselor and talk about it openly with your employees. You can practice mindfulness and share how it’s impacted your mental health. I really love this story that he shared because, uh, it shows true leadership in my opinion when it comes to mental health. The next thing that Jesse recommends is to get to know your employees as people.

Jesse Curry: (07:32)
I think the first thing that you have to do as a leader is you have to take the time to get to know your people and get to know them on a personal level. So if you get to know people and you get to know what is it that motivates them, what is it that are, what are their goals? You know, personal goals in life, what are their goals within the business? But then two is just watched their performance and then you’ll notice when things start to, you know, necessarily flip and when things start to slip. If you have that personal relationship established in that trust, which leadership is all about trust, then you can have that conversation of, Hey, you know what? You know, I noticed that you’re struggling a little bit. Or Hey, I’ve noticed that you know, you’re, you’re coming in and you look just tired. You know what’s going on. And have that conversation with them.

Joey Randazzo: (08:21)
Not only will getting to know your employees on a personal level, impact their mental health in a positive way, but it will also positively impact their performance. Because at the end of the day,

Jesse Curry: (08:34)
like people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Joey Randazzo: (08:37)
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I think that’s extremely powerful because with employees sometimes they might feel that it’s all about business, it’s all about productivity, it’s all about how they’re doing on the project. And sometimes they just want to know that you care about them as a person. And Jesse has a real tactical strategy that you can use to get to know your employees at a deeper level.

Jesse Curry: (09:06)
So you have to take that extra time and that extra effort and maybe you schedule it into your calendar, but they don’t know it because you know it’s all about organization but, and it doesn’t have to be every week. It could be every other week or whatever it is that you call and you each check in on work, but then you know, they get to, they get accustomed to where it’s not only about work, it’s about me. So you ask, well, how’s your family? You know, if they’re a military spouse, so their, their husband’s deployed, Hey, how are you? How are you holding up? I know your husband is deployed or your wife’s deployed. Those things go a long way because I can tell you from having a deployed, when I was deployed, having a spouse with, with a child, um, back in the U S like people calling to check on her meant the world to her.

Joey Randazzo: (09:50)
You might feel a little weird scheduling time in your calendar to do something like this and it might feel shallow, but I don’t think it is. I think if you have the right intentions going into it, then you’re going to be genuine and you’re going to show that you really do care. I also think there’s a way to take this even further, and I’ve just started implementing this in my own business. I think you can keep a digital folder of each employee or independent contractor with information about them, their children’s name, their upcoming trip that they’re taking, anything that they care about and that they’ve talked about. And the reason why I do this is because I currently have 11 people that I communicate with, 11 people within our organization. And uh, things are getting a little confusing for me. One person will tell me one thing about the upcoming trip or, or, or about their child being sick.

Joey Randazzo: (10:50)
And it’s hard for me to remember who says what sometimes cause there’s so much going on. And so I think this is just a way for you to keep track of that and it shows that you do care if you’re willing to, to put that in a digital folder, in a notebook. It shows that you want to know more about them and you want to be able to connect with them in their personal life. Yeah. Don’t take it as far as your dental hygienist does. My fiance just told me a story about how um, she shared that we were engaged to the dental hygienist. And the dental hygienist, uh, politely removed herself, um, and came back and said, Oh, when did you get engaged? I, you know, last time you were here, you weren’t engaged. Clearly she went and checked her notes. So there are ways that you can do it naturally. Uh, during those scheduled times that you check in on your employees, ask them how they’re doing, bring up that upcoming trip that they’d been talking and been very excited about. Ask them how their son is doing, who you know was sick last week. Those things will show your employees that they, that they matter to you.

Joey Randazzo: (12:06)
The next thing that you can do is that you can share your story, your mental health obstacles with your employees. So when you notice that your people on your team are struggling or during that one on one conversation, you can tell that something is wrong. That’s an opportunity to be vulnerable and share your story.

Jesse Curry: (12:27)
And then when you have that conversation, if you’ve had mental health issues yourself, which a lot of entrepreneurial leaders have share that because a lot of times that’s the stigma is what are people going to think about me? And if you’re, if you’re their leader, if you’re their boss per se, and you’re telling them that like, Hey, I’ve been there, you know, I’m here for you and I’ve been there. Here’s, you know what, I can help you. I can get you in touch with resources. We can make this better. Then you’re doing your job and, and you know from a strictly from a leadership perspective, you take care of people and then they’re going to take care of your business.

Joey Randazzo: (13:08)
And in terms of getting in touch with the resources, I have something that I really recommend that I’ve just implemented this week. Having an internal link on your company’s website to those resources for mental health. You know, have a list of them on your website that you can share with your employees that they can access@anytimethattheyknowaretherethattrulyaddvaluetothemintheshownotestothisepisodeatovercomingthemine.com backslash seven. I’ll have that internal page on our company website that you can, uh, you can click on and you can just copy and paste if you find it valuable as well.

Joey Randazzo: (13:51)
I want to finish this episode with a final quote from Jesse. At the end of the day, we can only control what is within our circle of influence. Everything outside of that, the weather, the economy is out of our control and Jessie shares some really wise words. So as Jesse said, we can take ownership and talk about our mental health obstacles to our employees. We can begin a grassroots campaign to STI stigmatize mental health obstacles within our own organization. Here’s what he says.

Jesse Curry: (14:25)
There’s been multiple surveys I’ve seen here recently and polls that have said American workers want their leaders to talk more about mental health. Do it. And if you do it as, as the leader in the organization, because yeah, they’re always, you can’t necessarily combat the stigma that may occur at a peer to peer level. You can definitely an influence it, but you can, you can let them know that there’s not going to be any stigma from

Joey Randazzo: (14:52)
you. Thank you for listening to this episode of overcoming the mind. I want to thank Jesse Curry for taking the time to chat and add a ton of value. Jesse has his own podcast called first string leadership. It’s all about how to become a better leader. Great content there, and you can listen@firststringleadership.com again, thanks for listening to this episode of overcoming the mind.

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