Mental Health Specialist, Workplace Safety, Stress and PTSD
Through the telling of his own personal story of struggling to find help for his mental illness, Matt Vogl illuminates many of the problems that have plagued our mental health system for decades; problems that make it difficult or even impossible for people to access the care that they need.
Realizing that his story is tragically common, Matt turned his attention to the search for solutions which led to the founding of the National Mental Health Innovation Center. Matt’s center focuses on finding ways to bring new ideas and new thinking into the field of mental health such as the use of technology like virtual reality to treat phobias and PTSD, partnerships with Pixar to develop emotional learning tools for kids and parents and projects to help address the mental health needs of emergency responders. Matt’s message is one of hope; that can replace a mental health system that is hard to access, afford and navigate with one that is cutting edge, embraces prevention and is easily accessible for everyone.
The importance of maintaining positive mental health and reducing stress in the workplace is well-established. Untreated/undertreated mental health issues cost employers in the US over $100 billion every year through absenteeism, presenteeism, lost productivity, increased health care costs and employee turnover. Savvy employers are taking steps to reduce worker stress, lessen the stigma that keeps many employees from seeking help for their conditions, and expanding access to clinical services for those who need it. The return on investment for these kinds of actions is proven.
But issues related to mental health and stress are often overlooked when discussing worker safety, especially in the manufacturing sector. Research has shown that stress, anxiety and depression can all lead to increased fatigue and a reduced ability to focus on routine tasks. This can lead to lower productivity for all workers, but for workers in jobs that require them to operate heavy machinery, work on factory floors or in dangerous settings like construction sites, the impact can be deadly. Fatigued and distracted workers are more likely to be victims of costly accidents, but most are returned to their positions as soon as their physical wounds heal, with no attention paid to the underlying stress/mental health issues that were at the root of the accident.
There is an opportunity for employers to rethink their strategies around safety and mental health. Rather than relegating issues related to mental health to human resources, as is often the case, employers should consider ways to integrate mental health/stress into their safety plans in order to promote safety and lessen the financial burden brought about by stress-related workplace injuries.
While Matt’s work and vision for a mentally healthy world is serious, he is wickedly funny. Exactly what you might expect from a guy who performed stand-up comedy for 10 years.
Matt lives in the Denver metro area and travels around the country (including most recently Juneau, Alaska) to make a difference in how organizations and people think about mental health.
Invite Matt to your next conference or training event!
Email us today or call (303) 478-6652