One of the biggest challenges for anyone experiencing a mental health disorder is overcoming the social stigma associated with it. It's the number one reason people don't reach out for help and that is something our very own April Keatley, Manager of Business Intelligence, is trying to change.
In fact, the impact she has made within our organization is so significant, it caught the attention of the Southern Gas Association (SGA) who recently awarded April the 2021 SGA Award for Safety and Health.
So how is April making such a difference? It started last year, when April opened up about her own journey with mental health – sharing her struggles with stress and how those experiences led to challenges with her physical health.
“I am passionate about mental health because I have experienced what can happen when you don't fiercely protect it.
In 2014, I took on an exciting yet challenging role that came with a heavier workload, a new team, a lot of change and, in turn, a lot of stress. In my enthusiasm to deliver results, I got away from maintaining healthy habits and started to experience health issues.
Over the course of a year, I had two hospital stays, several doctor appointments, and countless hours of time off work – all while dealing with incredible personal stress.
Throughout the experience, my leadership team was nothing but supportive. Never-the-less, I struggled to step away and when I came back, I don't think I gave myself the appropriate time to process the trauma I had gone through.
I am sharing this story because I want anyone experiencing a mental health disorder to know that they aren’t alone and that asking for help is not a weakness.”
April’s vulnerability resonated with teams across our organization and opened the door for more conversations about mental health. Since sharing her story, April has kept the momentum going by introducing ‘Wellness Wednesday’ posts starting within her department and expanding to her wider business unit of approximately 3000 people.
With personal stories, wellness reminders and educational posts, April encourages daily conversations about mental health through her thought-provoking shares. She has helped teach her peers about potential warning signs in others, self-evaluation, communication strategies, tips for stress relief, and other mental health topics.
We are so proud of and grateful to April for helping to remove the stigma associated with mental health and normalizing conversations about it. We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this award and want to thank her for her hard work in this space. Please join us in congratulating April!
Manager, Business Intelligence
Learn more about our commitment to mental health in our 2021 Report on Sustainability.
Check out some of April’s wellness tips!
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