Mental health focus increases as the pandemic takes a toll

Mental health used to be an issue that was never discussed. However in today’s society, mental health it has been put into the spotlight, as the macho man, hide your feelings attitude is long gone.

One mental health professional trying to improve the lives of working people is Trent Williams, Executive Director of TEAM. Williams joined the AWF Union Podcast to discuss his career, what TEAM is and how they help working people.

Beginning a career in mental health

Williams came to the mental health field through an untraditional path. He has a long family history of union members, especially in the construction industry. After following the construction path for about 10 years and going through his own family crisis, Williams decided he wanted to help others.

While he was experiencing tough times, a coworker put him in touch with an employee assistance program. Having conversations with these advocates made him realize he wanted to help others with similar struggles.

What is TEAM?

TEAM is an employee assistance program and patient advocacy program who works with unions and other organizations throughout the U.S.

Working directly with contractors and union health and welfare programs, TEAM has specialized their care and services. Also, Williams said TEAM does not turn anyone away and will offer their services to anyone in need.

Combating mental health issues

Williams said the pandemic highlighted mental health because people were forced to confront issues. Spouses had much more interaction, substance abuse became easier to fall into and more.

He said the main focus needs to be on destigmatizing mental health conversations. Especially in construction, the macho man stereotype needs to be broken down. People have enough small issues to worry about, a large issue like mental wellbeing is not something that should go unaddressed.

Lastly, Williams addressed where TEAM has had success connecting with workers. Instead of waiting for the worker to come to them, TEAM goes to the worker, developing conversation plans to be had during morning stretches or while sitting in the break room.


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