Can you envision a world where individuals and companies embrace mental fitness for everyone? It’s an important issue and one that is being addressed in Utah! Adam Nugent and Kate Strong welcome Rachel Merrill to the show. She is the co-founder of Room Here, a nonprofit organization focused on mental fitness and healthier minds at work. Learn the vital steps you can take to reframe the conversation about mental fitness to better your business, family, and community. See how you can help people and companies find resources to build a supportive community.
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In 2019, a group of business executives came together after losing friends and colleagues to the effects of depression. They founded the nonprofit Room Here. In this podcast excerpt, co-founder Rachel Merrill explains the mission of the organization
AN: Rachel, what is room here?
RM: Room Here is a nonprofit organization that focuses on mental fitness in the workplace, helping companies have great conversations about mental health, mental fitness, and having the resources to do so.
AN: Where did the whole concept or premise of Room Here even start?
RM: So going back to the beginning a couple of years ago, I joined an events company with Trent Mano, who’s actually the co-founder of this organization. We started putting on events for CEOs and founders in the Utah tech area, and we decided to talk about mental health. A few years ago, we lost some friends due to crises or tragedies with mental health. We wanted to do something about that, so we brought some friends together and had conversations about mental health in the workplace. I saw people having conversations about this and realized that there needs to be an engine behind this and that I wanted to be a part of this in a big way.
There’s so much stigma around mental health, and oftentimes it’s like, so narrow people immediately say, “If we’re talking about mental health, then we’re only talking about suicide,” which is really important to talk about. But the issue is that mental health is a conversation for everybody. We all have a body that we take care of with physical fitness. We all have a mind that we need to take care of through mental fitness, regardless of where we’re at.
KS: What are some tips you could offer about mental fitness and mental health?
RM: One of the first simple tips I think of is just to reframe the conversation around mental health and mental fitness. Thinking of it as, “My mind is just like my body, and I need to exercise and take care of it.” Getting good sleep is a huge thing, and then getting out and moving our bodies. There’s a lot of us working from home right now who are not taking breaks. So, take a lunch break and get out and move your body and go run for a little bit. Or if you don’t like running, just do some simple stretches. Another thing is connecting with a love one. Text or call a friend or loved one. Human connection is powerful in improving our mental health.
AN: Have you seen even in these recent months that there’s a bigger need for connection?
RM: The pandemic has increased the need for people to connect with one another. Statistically, people’s stress levels and burnouts levels are higher than they’ve ever been because more people are experiencing that.
AN: Once you joined the community, you will have access to resources to where you can know, “Hey, I need to find a therapist. I need to do this. I need that.” There’s a community that’s involved, with resources to be able to help find those people.
RM: Definitely! Our website already has resources that people can look at and then we’ll send out newsletters with specific resources, just getting into the conversation and starting to share that you’re a part of this conversation as well. It’s been incredible. Even as I have just opened up myself to this conversation and talked about it more or shared about it on my social media, I’ve had complete strangers reach out to me. I’ve had friends that I didn’t realize were struggling reach out to me. And I’ve been able to be a resource and a help connect them. And they’ve also then been able to help others as well.
Visit roomhere.org to learn more.