North Central College student Jamie Mangiameli ’15 proposed during a TEDx talk that society would benefit from employer-sponsored mental health centers.
Mangiameli was one of six student speakers selected to make three-minute presentations at the inaugural TEDxNorthCentralCollege event. Topics were inspired by the theme “Changing the World for Good.” Her talk was titled, “Mind, Body & Soul: The Corporate Impact of Mental Wellness Centers.”
Mangiameli, a sociology major from Naperville, cited research by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill that says one in four adults suffers from a mental illness.
“That’s one in four people in this room. That’s one in four people at your workplace, one in four people in your class, one in four people in your family struggling with a mental illness,” Mangiameli said.
She said Illinois has cut the state budget for mental health care by 71 percent in recent years, and it’s time to seek creative solutions to providing mental health care.
“The workforce is a strong social structure that is frankly underrated and we don’t tap into frequently enough,” Mangiameli said. “I think the companies, corporations (and) institutions that we work for have a unique opportunity to take a stance on these social problems and in my opinion have a responsibility to do so.”
Many employers already offer amenities promoting physical wellness, including fitness centers, weight rooms and walk-in clinics, she said. Employees should demand their employers address a pressing need in the workplace by sponsoring mental wellness centers where counselors would be available to provide services on-site, she said.
“These counselors would offer individual counseling sessions as well as company-wide programs to promote mental and emotional wellness,” Mangiameli said. “A mental wellness center shows the employees—that’s us—that we are deeply cared for, and who doesn’t want to be deeply cared for? So use your voice … and join me in making mental wellness centers a reality.”
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers topics ranging from science to business to global issues. Independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.