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Supporting the Mental Health and Well-Being of Federal Employees

Thursday, May 13, 2021
MEMORANDUM FOR: 
HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTORS
From: 
ROBERT H. SHRIVER, III, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, EMPLOYEE SERVICES
Subject: 
Supporting the Mental Health and Well-Being of Federal Employees

On April 30, 2021, President Joseph R Biden proclaimed May 2021 as National Mental Health Awareness Month, calling upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, healthcare providers, and research institutes to raise mental health awareness.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is dedicated to increasing the understanding of mental health to foster a healthy and supportive work environment. Awareness of mental health supports for Federal employees is an important element of protecting employee well-being and sustaining a high performing Federal workforce. 

Generally, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which an individual achieves his or her own potential, copes effectively with the normal challenges of life, and can work efficiently and productively.   The global pandemic has led to social isolation, economic stresses, uncertainty, and a sense of loss that have added to daily life challenges. 

OPM is committed to supporting Federal agency leaders and human resource professionals throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond as we prepare the Federal workforce for the future of work. In addition to providing continual policy guidance and technical assistance OPM will provide resources to agencies to support a focus on mental health, including:  

  • Work-Life Community Connect Virtual Panel of Mental Health Experts -- A special Work-Life Community Connect (WCC) virtual event for Agency Work-Life Coordinators and HR Practitioners on May 20, 2021 from 2:00 -- 3:30 pm (ET) focused on the topics of Radical Self Care, Resilience and Suicide Prevention.  Featured presenters are from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institutes of Mental Health, the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and the Black Mental Health Alliance. An email with virtual access information will be sent to agency Chief Human Capital Officers and Human Resource Directors. 
  • Tip Sheets for Employee Work-Life Support – Tips for supervisors and human resource practitioners to support employees as agencies prepare for a post-pandemic workplace based on successful employee engagement and coaching practices. See attached. 

As a reminder, Federal agency Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) providers offer mental health services to employees and their family members.  Employees and managers can contact their agency Benefits Officers or EAP Coordinator to learn more about what is available at their agency.      

Promoting awareness of good mental health and available resources remains vital in supporting agencies during this critical time. OPM Work-Life staff looks forward to supporting Federal agency efforts in the coming months. If you have any questions, including reasonable accommodation requests for the virtual event mentioned above, please contact worklife@opm.gov. 

cc:  Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO), Deputy CHCOs, HR Directors, and Work-life Program Coordinators

Attachments:  Five Work-Life Tip Sheets (See 508-conformant PDFs below)