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Healthy Minds Interview: American Express Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month

May 16, 2022

Dr. Charles Lattarulo, Director of American Express’ Healthy Minds Program, talks about the importance of mental health as part of the holistic well-being journey.

“When it comes to overall well-being, it’s important to recognize mental health as a key factor. At Amex, raising awareness around our programs and services that support colleagues on their individual health journeys is more important than ever before,” said Dr. Charles Lattarulo, Director of American Express’ Healthy Minds program.

American Express has made it a priority to deliver on a global commitment to backing the holistic well-being of its colleagues, including physical, financial, and mental health.  In recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month, the company is encouraging colleagues to prioritize self-care and connection in its ‘Make Space’ campaign. The campaign highlights a wide variety of resources, support, and ways to access care – from mental health counseling to meditation sessions, wellness coaching, grief and loss support, mental health trainings and its flexible work model, Amex Flex.

A leading resource has been the company’s investment in its Healthy Minds program where colleagues can turn to licensed therapists and counselors for support, which is completely confidential and free. Additionally, colleagues can engage in wellness webinars and forums that normalize the importance of self-care and encourage ‘hard-to-have’ conversations.

Read more below from Dr. Lattarulo, a leader in the field of behavioral health, about how mental health is a key component of a healthy lifestyle:

What role does mental health have as part of someone’s overall well-being?

There are several factors connected to mental health including the attention we pay to our diet, exercise, and sleep. Additionally, it’s important to understand the way in which mental health can affect one’s everyday life beyond our thoughts and feelings such as the role it has on our relationships and how we manage stress.

Why is it important that we have frequent and candid conversations around mental health?

Mental health exists on a continuum. We can feel fine one day, but we may not feel fine the next day, depending on what we’re experiencing in our lives. The more we have open, honest conversations around mental health, the more it normalizes what we’re feeling and experiencing – and above all, early intervention in mental health is critical.

Within the workplace, people can encounter feelings of stress and anxiety at times. What are ways to help manage these experiences?

Often times, when we encounter these feelings it can be related to the need to feel in control. So to help manage stress and anxiety, it can help to take time to recognize and focus on things that are within our control including daily routines.

Additionally, be sure to pay attention and take time for these feelings. At American Express, colleagues can engage in what we call ‘micro-learnings,’ which are 3-5 minute videos on topics like deskercise and meditation – these help prioritize their emotional well-being throughout the day.

Lastly, you never know what someone else may be experiencing. Remember to have compassion for ourselves and our colleagues. Always assume positive intentions, and keep in mind that we often can only see a small piece of a much bigger story.

How can people make space in their own lives to prioritize mental health?

It’s important to make time for your mental health and to make space for it in your daily routine.

Mental health may mean something very different for every individual so the key is to find what practices and resources work best for each of us to support this journey. Some people need talk therapy to gain perspective. Some need exercise. Others need quiet time to reflect and meditate. Whatever the right  practice for you is, put it at the top of your to-do list every day.

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