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In order to build a community where Mental Health Matters, each of us has an important role to play. We can accomplish this by tending to our own mental health, supporting others around us, and actively building environments that promote mental health wherever we go. 

Those who take the pledge today to become a Mental Health Champion will receive window-clings and stickers to proudly display to help community members identify spaces around Long Beach that are actively creating safe and responsive environments for mental health.   

Take the pledge today to become a Mental Health Champion!

Businesses and Organizations
Institutions for Learning
Community Member


Our mental health is not limited to our personal lives and our mental health challenges don’t disappear when we go to places, like school or work. Sometimes, these environments are the cause of our stress or add to it. Making these environments supportive and responsive to mental health can play an important role in creating a community where Mental Health Matters.

Businesses and Organizations

Mental health can be influenced by the workplace, and sometimes stress can be caused by or increased by stressful and/or unsupportive work environments. Positive and supportive workplaces practices can promote the physical and mental health of employees, as well as company morale which can increase retention. These are a few ways that can help make your workplace more responsive and affirming for mental health. 

Train your managers and supervisors to promote mental health and well-being

Managers and supervisors can play an important role in implementing and sustaining the policies and procedures that help create an environment that is supportive to mental health.

Providing mental health awareness training for supervisors and managers can give them skills that help them recognize and respond to the signs of stress and mental health in employees. Educating supervisors and managers in respecting the life-work balance also serves as a reminder that employees are whole people with complex lives, which they bring parts of into work with them. Respecting this balance helps employees better manage their work and life responsibilities, as well as improve their job performance and satisfaction.

Additionally, managers and supervisors can also help employees understand the resources available to them for mental health and how to access them.

Increase employees’ options for when, where, and how they work

Flexibility in when, where, and how employees work can help the mental health of employees. Virtual or hybrid work can provide flexibility for people with caregiving responsibilities, bypass location bias, and even facilitate opportunities for employees of all levels to share ideas by taking meetings out of the often-intimidating conference room setting.

But virtual and hybrid work may not be the solution for everyone, depending on the kind of work that is being done. Similarly, flexible work schedules may be important for some but not all employees or may be important to a particular employee at one point in time but not at another point in time.

The key is to allow employees the agency to choose options that balance the needs of their work and their personal circumstances.

Reexamine health insurance policies with a focus on employee mental health 

If your business or organization offers health insurance benefits, reexamine whether they include resources and care for mental health that are comparable to physical health coverage. Be sure that the mental health benefits and resources you offer are easy to find, understandable, and support employees across the different types of mental health needs (e.g., mental health, behavioral health, and recovery from substance use).

Additionally, consider expanding this coverage to remove barriers employees may encounter when seeking support for mental health. For example, choose a plan with out-of-network mental health benefits so employees can access service providers who may not be partnered with your in-network providers.

Listen to what your employees need and use their feedback to evolve

The best way to know what your employees need is to provide opportunities for them to tell you. You can use tools like surveys, suggestion boxes, or focus groups to gather anonymous feedback. When the feedback is collected and reviewed, share the results with all employees in an open and honest way and develop an action plan to address the areas of growth. Communicate with the employees about how you will use that feedback to inform your decisions as you shift towards making the workplace a more responsive and affirming environment for mental health.

Take a critical look at equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) policies

Every staff member of your business/organization brings in their own identities and backgrounds into work with them. Creating a work environment that is inclusive and equitable is important in fostering a sense of belonging and safety, which promotes the mental health of employees.

Evaluate your company policies and programs to ensure best and current practices around EDI, including supporting BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+ populations and people with disabilities.

A welcoming and safe workplace builds trust between leadership and employees, contributes to job satisfaction, and helps reduce job-related stress. Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion while supporting employees can look like:

  • Being intentional and consistent with using inclusive language.
  • Recognizing and respecting the diverse backgrounds and identities of staff members.
  • Regularly reviewing your organization’s hiring practices and ensure equitable pay.
  • Considering conducting an audit of your organization’s ongoing EDI work to identify gaps in any EDI policies identify opportunities for growth and improvement.

Institutions for Learning

Educational environments offer a unique opportunity for to notice mental health concerns early on, preventing the progression of these concerns and intervening to support students where they already are. These environments also play an important role in providing and connecting students with resources in the community.

Educational environments offer a unique opportunity for to notice mental health concerns early on, preventing the progression of these concerns and intervening to support students where they already are. These environments also play an important role in providing and connecting students with resources in the community.

K-12 Institutions 

Increase awareness of on-campus supports (e.g., school-based health centers, School Social Workers).
Learn how to recognize signs of changes in mental and physical health among students, including trauma and behavior changes.
Educate students and families of mental health symptoms and how to access support.
Make time for activities that promote calming, stress reduction, and mental and physical wellness (e.g., mindfulness activities and drawing).
Create spaces within the classroom for students to go to relax, regroup, and process emotions.
Seek feedback and suggestions from children on how to create a welcoming, safe and comfortable classroom.

Colleges & Universities 

Increase awareness of on-campus supports (e.g., health center, counseling services, emergency housing, food pantries).
Provide students with information about on-campus resources (e.g., making announcements, including it in the syllabus, bringing in presenters).
Learn how to recognize signs of changes in mental and physical health among students, including trauma and behavior changes.
Check in with students about how they are doing, if you have concerns or notice changes in their behavior.
Seek feedback and suggestions from students on how to create a safe and affirming environment for mental health.


Mental health stigma is when people are viewed in a negative way because they are struggling with mental health or have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as feeling shame or judgment from someone else or even from themselves. Stigma can lead people to feel like they must keep their mental health a secret and hide it from others. This can create huge challenges to reaching out and getting the support they need.

Our own cultures can also impact how we think about mental health. Each culture has its own understanding and beliefs about mental health symptoms. These may teach us ways to deal with different emotions and who we can reach out to for support when we are having a difficult time. Additionally, it may influence whether or not a person decides to seek support for mental health.

Sometimes, stigma can look like:

  • Being told that struggling with mental health is a weakness
  • Being told that it’s a “choice” to feel what you’re feeling
  • Being told that you should keep your feelings and experiences to yourself and not seeking support for your mental health
  • Stereotypes or representations in media about people who have mental health conditions or are struggling with their mental health as not being able to live fulfilling lives

Whether mental health stigma is direct or unintentional, it can lead to harm. Some of the harmful effects of stigma can include:

  • Lower self-esteem or not feeling good about yourself
  • Not seeking services or delaying seeking services
  • Not being understood by family, friends, co-workers or others
  • Experiencing rejection, bullying, and discrimination
  • Increased challenges with mental health

Mental health struggles may be more common than we think. You are not alone and there are many ways you can find support!


How can we address it?  

Learn more about mental health - Being informed can help with educating others and getting them the help they need. You don’t need to be an expert – after all, we are all continually learning.  

Be intentional with your language - Remind yourself and others that words matter. What we say and how we say it matters. Making small changes to how we talk – about mental illness and in general – can go a long way toward decreasing stigma.

Remember that people are more than their mental health conditions/diagnosesHumans are complex and a person’s illness is just one small part of who they are. When it comes to mental health, we may use language that unintentionally defines someone’s identity by their diagnosis. Using “people-first language” recognizes that by avoiding describing someone as their diagnosis.  

Pledge to be a Mental Health ChampionVisit longbeach.gov/mentalhealth for information and resources