Tackling the small and big picture at HERO Forum21

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Mental health, psychological safety, organizational resilience, diversity-equity-inclusion, supportive leadership, and work as a social determinant of health. These were some major focuses at the HEROForum21 last week. HERO Forum is the Health Enhancement Research Organization’s annual conference that brings together wellness practitioners, organizational leaders, benefits professionals, and scientists, among others.

The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) joined the online event, which had a combination of live, breakout, and pre-recorded on-demand sessions. OHWC’s Center manager, Anjali Rameshbabu presented a pre-recorded on-demand presentation, Facilitating Mental Health, Well-being, and Resilience through Total Worker Health(R).

Centered around the conference theme, Bouncing Back: Boosting Mental Resilience and Building Organizational Immunity, talks over the five days featured several presenters who shared experiences and outcomes from their organizational efforts to address mental health and resilience, caregiving and burnout, and social determinants of health and systemic racism. Overall, there seems to be a clear impetus among organizations to address both employee-focused issues and societal-level challenges, and the coming years will reveal how effective and sustainable these endeavors will be.

Watching the sessions over five days, we are struck by the realization that for the first time in a long time we can say we are truly connected by the events around us – the pandemic, demand for social justice, socio-political-economic divides, work-from-home, and changing worker needs – and our collective experience of them. And the silver lining during these difficult times is that because of it all, for the first time in a long time, we are truly coming together to navigate the world of work in a changing world, and constructing ways to come out stronger on the other side.

For some of us deeply engaged in the study and practice of worker well-being, efforts such as those highlighted at the HERO Forum bode well for bridging the silos that have traditionally separated us – academia and industry, safety and wellness, public health and private sector, as we come together in less parallel and more connected ways to seek solutions for a better world of work.

Visit the HERO event page to learn more and watch for the Proceedings which should be published in the coming days.