Goodwill Industries partnered with Northland Healthy Minds this year to implement the Make It OK employer toolkit during Mental Health Awareness Month.

Goodwill employs 330 people in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. Of those, 147 are client employees with a physical disability, cognitive disability or mental health diagnosis receiving vocational rehab training.

"We provide a supportive atmosphere," said Doug Robertson, case manager at Goodwill. "A safe place where mental health can be discussed without any stigma. Our program participants know they can take care of their mental health needs without losing their jobs. Knowing they won’t be fired if they need to call in because of deep depression."

Goodwill invited a volunteer from Northland Healthy Minds to give a Make It OK presentation during May.

"In the Make It OK presentation, there is the slide that asks how many of you know someone who has had a mental illness," Robertson said. "Everyone in the room raises their hand. That is a moment that everyone realizes it’s normal ... it’s OK. It starts a conversation that doesn’t stop when the presentation is over. Our employees thanked us for talking about this subject."

Thanks to Doug and Goodwill for sharing their story!

We will be releasing an updated toolkit for employers in May 2020. In the meantime, if your employer would like to work on mental health: