According to a recent study by Qualtrics, 58% of employees report their job is the main source of their mental distress. The pandemic only exacerbated this trend – further blurring the lines between “home” and “work.” But how did this impact the inequities we know already existed in access to healthcare among BIPOC communities?

In this Brave Conversation, Culture Moments podcast host Larry Baker is joined by guests Ariel McGrew, Business Psychologist at Tactful Disruption, and Dr. Harry Petaway, Director of Business Development and Community Engagement for the Forum on Workplace Inclusion and Creator of The Equity Community of Practice.

Within their conversation, they dive into what holistic health is, how the pandemic has impacted holistic health particularly for BIPOC communities, and what employers can do to support their employees’ holistic health.

After tuning in to the conversation, we encourage you to share your takeaways on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Show Notes & Highlights

6:02: Larry asks our guests to break down what we mean when we use the term “holistic health”

8:25: Ariel addresses how the pandemic changed family and worker dynamics and how that connects to their mental health

13:30: Ariel, Harry, and Larry discuss how the murder of George Floyd provided a platform to have conversations about holistic health

17:10: Harry tells us to start with the data when addressing inequities in the workplace

34:48: Ariel highlights the new ways we are approaching mental health care and how access to mental health resources has changed

44:14: Harry talks about how understanding your benefits package is an essential first step in addressing your holistic health

Show Transcript

Larry Baker: Hello everyone. And welcome to the Culture Moments Podcast. I’m your host, Larry Baker. And I am thrilled to have you join us for our second season called Brave Conversations with LCW. In these episodes, you’ll hear from a panel of guests from specific communities, offering a range of perspectives on the past two years.

We’ll hear about their own experiences as well as their insights on what has changed and more importantly, what needs to change to move equity forward. As we all know so much has shifted and changed over the past two years. And for many of us, we’re still in recovery from a very difficult 24 months.

Larry Baker: Hello and welcome. On today’s episode, we take a deep dive into holistic health in the workplace, and we know that a person’s job has long been associated with stress. According to a study completed just last month by Qualtrics, 58% of employees report that their job is the main source of their mental distress.

The pandemic surely only made this worse with almost 70% of employees saying that remote work actually blurred the lines between home and work. Add to that, the fact that the pandemic exacerbated inequities and access to healthcare for BIPOC communities, and then we’re left with. Did the pandemic produce even greater negative effects on BIPOC communities, holistic health. We’ll explore these topics and more during today’s discussion.

And there is so much to unpack here. Luckily, today I am joined by two thought leaders. To help us with these questions, please welcome my guests Ariel McGrew, she’s a business psychologist at tactful disruption, LLC, and Harry Pettaway. He is the director of business development and community engagement for the forum on workplace inclusion.

I like to extend a greeting to both of you and right off the top. I would love for each of you to give us a brief introduction to who you are, what you do and why holistic health matters to you. So I will start with Ariel.

Ariel McGrew: Thank you, Larry. Um, so I’m a girl from the south side of Chicago who seen it on all accounts, right?

I would say that why holistic health matters to me is because I have this personal mission to be the Nike of mental health. And to really help people understand that there are intersections that have to be addressed. And that the reality of it is people don’t have access to psychological equity.

And then when you can be on the same playing field mentally, you can start to expand a lot of different areas, emotionally, spiritually, financially.

That’s all I’m going to say for now.

Larry Baker: Okay. Thank you so much Ariel and Harry, please. Same thing. Introduce yourself. Tell me a little about what you do and why this whole concept of holistic health matters.

Dr. Harry Petaway: Yeah, thanks Larry. And thanks for having me. And I feel like right now, I’ve got to give a shout out to Cleveland where I’m originally from, even though I’m living in Michigan right now.

So what I do, you know, I call myself a health equity advocate, a social impact entrepreneur. I’m currently I’m working with the forum on workplace inclusion, but I also have a couple of volunteer roles. So I co-chair the advocacy committee for the society for diversity, as well as co-chair the American cancer society’s health equity initiative.

And you know, and like, like I said, all things, uh, health equity, and I, you know, my, my doctorate program is through public health. So I look at everything from a public health lense, and it’s like, Ari was talking about, there’s so many interconnections that relate to these outcomes and, you know, equity as an outcome of all things.

That’s really why it’s important in holistic health. I’m glad we’re talking about this today because it’s everything. A lot of times I spend a lot of time in the healthcare field and a lot of times we look at health is what was your A1C number, right? What is your BMI period? And we stop at those things, but those people aren’t really well, they’re just you know, scoring well on whatever that current measure is. So the conversation that we’re having today is really important. And I’m especially excited to talk to Ari, considering her understanding of the psychological nature of the mind and how that relates to what we’re talking about today.

Larry Baker: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Harry. Thank you so much Ariel. And I definitely agree with you that this is such a timely conversation to have, because there are so many, as you mentioned, Harry, so many different aspects to this concept on holistic health. So let’s take a step back if we will. We’re going to start with the basics.

So describe for us, or give to the listeners a definition in regards to what is holistic. And why is it important to think about it specifically during this cultural moment after living through basically two years of a pandemic. So Harry, I’ll ask you to give me your definition of it and why it’s so important.

And then Ariel, same question. So Harry, if you would.

Dr. Harry Petaway: Yeah, my, my definition and hopefully I don’t bounce back and forth between too many industries, but you know it’s similar to healthcare’s whole person health, but it encompasses, you know, mind, body spiritual. It’s actually the entire person. I would like to even go so far as to say, it’s like, it’s your entire existence, you know, how you feel as a human being. And making sure that I’m use the term safe that you feel well, which is kind of vague, but that you are doing well on all those pillars for the things that make you whole. And you know, again, the reason why that’s so important especially from the mental aspect of it, is you may look well, but you don’t feel well. And how we perceive our reality is really what our reality is. So that’s why I think that holistic health is really an important topic today. It’s not new. Even though we’re talking about it more and more today, but I’m glad that we are.

Larry Baker: Thank you so much for that. Ariel. You’re response.

Ariel McGrew: I’m going to go with the American Holistic Healthcare Associations definition in that it’s a holistic, well, it’s like a holistic health approach to life. And if we want to go into the psychology of that, that’s a little bit of that reality therapy choice theory at Leary. And like, what is the lifestyle?

How are you impacted by those things? And how do they show up in areas and ways that make you recognize something’s not quite right that supports me in what I got going on. And I need to figure out how I can make what I need to happen “happen,” while at the same time supporting the structures that actually support me in being able to do that.

If that make sense.

Larry Baker: Okay. Yes, it does. Thank you so much. So Harry you did touch upon this earlier that you said, you know what, this really isn’t a new concept, right? And the reality is, is that we know that even before the pandemic, there were vast inequities and access to healthcare and the pandemic only exacerbated those gaps.

So I’ll start with you Ariel. Tell me what obstacles, my employees of color in particular, face in addressing their holistic health.

Ariel McGrew: So I like this question because it’s really loaded, right? It depends on where you were situated. Were are you in an essential employee? Right? Were you doing the home healthcare nursing, or were you in the leadership position that required you to adapt to technology to recognize that the diversity equity inclusion justice meant?

Well, I’m going to have to recognize that some mental health stuff is at play right now. Right. And are you one of those individuals who was treading that fine line as being a single home provider and your kids having to be home as well? Because your kids don’t know what the demands of your workday are, but they know they’ve got things going on.

So suddenly you’re a math teacher, you’re a science educator. You’re doing all these different things. And I think that it shows up that way, it showed up that way in the workplace. And then I think too, the reality that a lot of people got to sit down and be with themselves. And when I say sit down and be with themselves, it wasn’t the hustle and bustle of trying to make the train schedules to make those commutes.

It was, “oh,”  excuse my language, “Shit. I got problems. And I haven’t been able to address them for real.” And now that I’ve been sitting here and I realized that if I have more control over how I do output, like my productivity looks like this because there are other things that I want to do, I can get that done.

But that also meant that marijuana use went up. Alcohol dependence went up. You know there, and then it was just the reality of like, if there were difficult conversations already in play, the pandemic, especially at the beginning of the shelter in place, made it easy to detach. And so now when you come back into this hybrid work model it’s like, I don’t even know how to be, because I’m used to being in my energy now.

I don’t really want to interact with certain people.

Larry Baker: Right. Wow. Yeah, you really did take it to the different levels, things that I really didn’t even think of that we would go down that path with that particular question. But thank you so much for that insight. Harry, a little bit of pressure on you now but same question. So we’ll talk about some of those obstacles that, you know, employees of color might face in the workplace, specifically around this topic.

Dr. Harry Petaway: So I’ll go ahead here. And I really think I can only try to build on some of the things that are already said. I’m really glad that you brought up essential workers and not just essential workers in healthcare. But I think that if you look at the data, a lot of the people doing the cleaning and whatnot, a lot of those people were, you know, Black and Brown people.

So they didn’t get the, I’m going to go so far as to say it, the rest for the people that thought that the remote work was the rest. To be able to sit back and take in the pandemic, you know, see what was going on on YouTube and the internet and those types of things. You know, they really didn’t get that in the hours that they work, the pressures that they were under the stress, you know, am I going to get COVID, having to go back to their families?

You know that that’s tremendous. Let alone, if we talk about the preventative care and things that those people needed to be able to follow up with wasn’t really available. So for things like cancer screening, mental health was taxed out. You know, there weren’t enough mental health providers.

Now when we get back to a remote worker, even some of these essential workers, I love that you were talking about, you know, sitting with themselves. And so I say, like I had time to spend in my feelings, right. To be, you know, to get into my feelings. That’s tough. You know, under any circumstances for a lot of people, let alone the stigma associated with a lot of people of color as it relates to getting mental health or mental health help or even talking about it with their peers.

Another thing that I will talk about, and this is going to be a catch 22, because you know, it could also be a benefit, but in a remote environment, it’s difficult to navigate those situations, right? If you don’t have the network that some of your white counterparts have, you know, in-person initially during the pandemic that may have carried over into your remote space.

So you’re kind of on an island where that starts to become a problem or things like not understanding my benefits, my benefits package include the mental health or preventative health. You know, those types of things that are all of a sudden there. And you know, Ari really touched on it. The family environment changes, you know, your kids are there, your husband and your wife are there.

What are those pressures like? One more obstacle and I, I don’t know if it’s an obstacle, but it might be a little bit of fire to the flame has to do with, you know, from a remote work standpoint, to just see everything that was going on around you. Everything on LinkedIn.

I hate bringing up the, you know, the George Floyd, but you know, just all of that, just being able to consume that at once and having everyone contacting you, be like, “oh, I didn’t know. What can I do about it?” But those are, those are what I think some of the obstacles are. It’s just how to weed through that and access to care that you need

Ariel McGrew: Can I speak to the right quick?

Larry Baker: Absolutely.

Ariel McGrew: Harry, I heard you, when you say I hate bringing up the George Floyd thing, but it’s like, I’m glad that that happened at a place where everybody could see that this is a conversation we’re going to have to stop avoiding. And I think that, that, that presented a whole ‘nother, I mean, we’re talking about like in the, in, in the workplace, but that also forced people into entrepreneurship because just as much as we had essential employees and we had leaders trying to be more innovative, we had a lot of people who lost their jobs, who, who don’t have you know, they lost everything with that, right. Or, or people who had had their businesses for forever. And you’d have never known that they were struggling to make all those ends meets. Right? And so when you’re talking about holistic health care, that is stress management, financial management, it’s all of these things compounded into one and it’s like, but it took for this one conversation to make it clear that all these things are happening simultaneously.

And you have to figure out which part of this conversation you can effectively be a part of.

Dr. Harry Petaway: Absolutely. Can I tag onto that one? I don’t want to take us off track. So, and this is, this is why it’s interesting. You know, I have to watch my bias when we have conversations because I look at everything from a public health lens.

Right. And so, you know, we talk about the pandemic. Now, a lot of people immediately pandemic one. COVID right. Then you hear people say the double pandemic, the triple pandemic. So racism, pandemic, mental health problems, pandemic. So what’s been unique about this event is all of those things that compounded, which are not called the pandemic, and the George Floyd thing, you know, in the DEI space-wise why it’s interesting for us is that, um, that’s kind cool. For saying, you know, we say we were doing this work before the pandemic that’s code word for “before George Floyd”. Right. So that’s, that’s a safe way to kind of ease that conversation. But, but thanks for letting me add that in there.

Larry Baker: Yeah, no, that’s absolutely beneficial to the conversation because this point is something that I’ve always been excited about.

Right. Because I agree with Ariel it’s like, I was glad that it happened. Because I think that we were engaging in a false sense in this country that everything was fine. And it’s kind of similar to holistic health because if I’m not walking around with a physical disability, like you can’t see my arm in a sling, or you can’t see me using crutches, then you think everything is okay with me.

And it’s awesome for us to have that conversation that we need to make space for those folks who really aren’t okay. Mentally, financially, whatever the case may be. And those are the things that may not be as obvious to the naked eye. Same with the pandemic of, like you said Harry, racism, right? It wasn’t plain and clear to the naked eye until everyone’s stopped.

And you could not dispute the fact that this happened. So I think it’s a wonderful correlation in this conversation. So I’m glad that we went there. Now, the next thing I want to ask you. Is because one of the things that I love to do is to provide information for organizations to potentially provide solutions.

So I’m going to start with you, Harry, if I were to hire you as a CEO of a corporation, and I said, Harry, how do I begin to address those disparities in the workplace? What would your response be?

Dr. Harry Petaway: I mean, and I’m sure I will appreciate this as a doctoral student. The first thing is you need, you need the data.

You need to really understand what’s going on in your organization. A lot of times, especially since the George flood incident, everybody kind of jumped in, but not really. It’s, you know, it’s more performative to say these are the things that we’re doing. Look at us, you know, brown faces in spaces, you know, things, things like that as they, as they hire different people, but they really don’t understand, what their employees need.

So I think that’s the first thing and I don’t necessarily mean, you know, a typical engagement survey or anything like that. I mean, really get into who are your employees? Where do they live? What are some of the situations that they have? Another thing that I would really suggest is to assess your benefits package, right?

So there’s. There’s some great work out there by a woman by the name of Cassandra Rose, where she talks about benefits, equity. It’s not something that we talk about a lot, but if you don’t understand your benefits, you don’t have the right type of, of benefits. You know, you’re not able to do those things.

The next thing that I would do is that I would include the employees. So there’s this concept that when you say is a community-based participatory research, right? Fancy word, community design, or design principles, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s another way of putting it. But what that really means is working with the employees to find out what is it that you need? How do we address that? And then it’s a continuous iterative cycle of, is this working? Let’s assess it. What do we need to tweak and change? But coming in as a CEO in it, and I think this is a fault for a lot of organizations right now is that they look for what’s popular.

They kinda throw it out there. They put it on their web pages. They say, this is what we’re doing, but it really doesn’t have, have a lot of… yeah.

Larry Baker: That’s good because you you’re prescribing to something, but I’ll often say to clients when, you know, they, they ask us to put on different training programs.

Right? It’s all about that diagnosis, right? My statement is, hey, if you haven’t done any diagnosis and you throw out a prescription, that’s essentially malpractice. You would never just accept your doctor giving you a prescription without even asking you any questions. Right. Right. So it kind of speaks to that whole concept.

So I’m glad you went there, Harry. Thank you so much. So Ariel, same question to you. I hire you to come into my organization and I say, so how do we begin to address some of these disparities in the workplace to which your response would be…

Ariel McGrew: Let’s have a meeting in an hour, let’s all excess our ignorance.

Let’s find out what it is we don’t know because you’re asking me to come in with a solution set. And I first need you to tell me what you actually think the problem is. And once we’ve got a clear understanding of a defined problem in this particular organization, then we can realistically create a plan that is inclusive of everyone.

That could be executed in a timely manner, but until then, realistically, I need to understand what it is you understand about the problem you’re asking me to address. That’s honestly how I do that because you know, I’m one of those people, like, have you met me? Like, I don’t have a traditional approach to anything.

But I do understand the importance of recognizing that there are multiple competing perspectives and those do need to be laid out before we can just say, here’s why we’re going to go do X, Y, and Z, especially if they don’t include the voices you’re trying to serve.

Larry Baker: Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So like, I want to, because we, we keep going back and forth around remote work and I think that that is something, in my opinion, that’s going to continue. And, and a question that I’ve often thought about is how can we prioritize all parts of our health and begin to look at the complete person as this phenomenon of remote work continues. So Ariel, I’ll ask you to start that, how do we prioritize our holistic health as this remote work continues?

Ariel McGrew: So I think it’s twofold, right? A lot of it is whatever organization you’re attached to, but then a lot of it is you as the individual, right? Like, so I’m in the United States military. I understand I have to get up and work out. I also have understands their trial and error, if I work out earlier in the day, I’m going to get a lot more accomplished on the back end versus if I do that in the middle of the day. So I understand structure and planning in fairness. It’s just kind of doing things on a whim. But I also am a spiritual practitioner. So a lot of me is spirituality and I work for myself.

So that makes a huge difference, right? Versus individuals who might now understand that they don’t respond well to autonomy, right? Remote work has made it very clear to some people autonomy is not the thing. And you mentioned earlier about like the invisible disabilities for some people it’s probably the first time they recognize they probably have a neurodivergent traits, ADHD symptoms. Some people work better in a team because those weaknesses can be covered by others versus when they’re working by themselves. And it’s like, “oh shit, I have difficulty concentrating.” Right. Right. Like, and because I have difficulty concentrating, I have to put in extra effort.

So I’m probably not going to meet the deadlines like I would have if I was on the team because I’m thriving off of that energy. And then I think you have an opportunity for those individuals who have more intensive characteristics and qualities to really rise to the occasion because they’re not competing with the louder voices sometimes. Right?

It’s like they can get things done and they can show up holistically the way, the reason that matters is because there’s a lot more ownership of how you get to show up, right? Like you get to do the thing for the organization, but you get to do the thing for self. And as long as you’re striking some level of balance, which is not realistic, right?

Like when you really want something you really have to put in the sweat, blood and tears for it. And that sometimes looks like, you know, early mornings, later nights because you want that thing. Right. And sometimes you’d have to be a little delusional. I’m not advocating for psychopathy by any means, but you have to be a little delusional to, to actualize certain dreams.

And, and that’s across the board, even if it’s not for an organization, even if it’s one you’re building, right. Yeah. Identifying what are, who are teased strategic partners, who are the perfect centers of influence? What makes the most sense to move in that direction? How do I sustain this at a time where it doesn’t even seem realistic to be like, I’m going to do this thing in the middle of the pandemic while all these people are losing jobs and no, I can’t afford to hire anybody, but at the same time I could afford to say, this is what I want and then generate an income for myself, right?

Like there’s, there’s a variety of things that pop up that way. And then you still have those who have the children. Right. You still have to consider, okay. A lot of babies are produced during the pandemic. I’m sure we’ve noticed that. Right. So, you know, like if you’re already not in that situation where you’re commanding the income you want, and now you have an additional, you know, Responsibility that requires a lot of money having to think about like what that means to, to prioritize taking care of your family.

Right. That self actualization is gonna look a lot different. So I wholeheartedly say that it is twofold. It’s just as much about the individual as it is about the organizations that they’re going to work with.

Larry Baker: Okay. Thank you, Harry. Your turn. How do we prioritize all parts of our health? You know as this complete person and being in this world of remote work. So what your, what are your thoughts about.

Dr. Harry Petaway: Yeah, I think, how we prioritize depends on how you prioritize the before as well. Right? So, so one of the things that you talked about in terms of, uh, health outcomes is that there were disparities before the pandemic.

So. Why this is interesting for me is that, you know, when you fill disclaimer, I’m a little biased on this. I’ve been in remote work since 2003. And so I had some frustration and I also classify myself as an introvert with an extroverted skillset. So as the rest of the world came into remote. I had to check my bias a little bit because I’d get frustrated when people would just get so stressed out or we have to have a happy hour because they’re trying to mimic, you know, this, this culture that they used to have before, uh, remote work.

But what I think is interesting is that I think that there’s some individuals that might have been more aligned with holistic health because they had the structure of going to work every day. I had to get up to go to the gym because I have to get my car, you know, to drive, to work, to do these things.

That structure was there. You mentioned it earlier though, is that those lines of work in life are blurred for a lot of people when they go into a remote environment. So I remember when I first started remote. I had to turn off, I was going crazy. I had to figure out how to turn off my phone. Cause I had never had a smartphone before.

It went off. Every single alert you can imagine nonstop all day long. And it took me a while to learn how to manage that. But what I think the most important thing that people can do to prioritize holistic health. And this goes back to when I said it is not, it’s not new. So if anybody familiar with Franklin Covey or any of those planners or anything, all those principles are built around, you know, those pillars, you know, mind spiritual, intellectual, those things.

And it’s an intentional effort to organize those in a way that works for you. The other piece for that though, is it all this work? Um, Requires practice. So practice and persistence. You try it, you try it. It doesn’t work. You have to keep trying. I also think in a virtual environment, something that’s new is something that we looked at from a public health standpoint is it especially for people of color or any group that is not the majority, the virtual environment has given us an opportunity to create community and connect with people that are not next to us. So if I have a challenge, I don’t have to worry about what Jan and the cube next to me is doing. I can connect with Ari, I saw her on LinkedIn.

You know, I can identify with some of the things that we’re talking about, you know, “how can you help me?” What are some of the things that we can work on together? So I think that the remote, um, environment, while it has some challenges, this shift to how we connect with each other, how we create community.

How we communicate is an opportunity for us to, um, enhance some of those areas, because now I can say, “Hey, Larry, you know, can we talk about spirituality? You know, can we, can we talk about this? Can we work on this? Can you give me some recommendations or I don’t know how to do it”, but you know, maybe Jake does, you know, that type of thing.

So I think there’s some opportunities there.

Larry Baker: Yeah. That’s a great point Harry. I mean, I have noticed that my net. Has expanded almost tenfold in the last couple of years, because now I, instead of spending a lot of time commuting to, and from the office, that’s given me two more hours that I didn’t have before.

So I definitely liked that aspect of, you know, the benefits to remote work. I think that some of that gets lost in the wash. I know that you have experience working with, uh, different organizations and maybe even individuals as well. So for me, I’d like to ask if you have some, what are some good examples or maybe even not so good examples of how organizations address employees mental health or holistic health that you can share.

So, Harry, I’ll ask you to go first.

Dr. Harry Petaway: I’m trying to stay on the positive.

Larry Baker: Say what’s on your mind.

Dr. Harry Petaway: So the reason, the reason why I’m say I’m just gonna tell you where my mind is going, because this is, this is interesting, you know, going back to when people try to recreate the in-person experience, right?

Me as an introvert would an extroverted skillset, this idea that after five o’clock we’re going to have a remote happy hour. We’re going to have a remote dinner. You need to be there now. So they don’t necessarily tell you that you have to be there, but if you’re not there, why aren’t you there? You know, the VP was there.

Whoever’s there. Now, your family has been around you all day. Your kids are there, your spouse is there. You know what I mean? Like you have been at work all day. And so the work, some of these things that we’ve done to try to help people. And again, as an introvert, when an extrovert is still said, I need time to recharge.

It’s difficult turning on you. Hold on. I’m gonna, I’m gonna try not to shift to top shifted too many topics. But this extension of the workday, with some of the happy hour things, good intentions. That’s great, but be mindful of what you’re asking people to do. And why it’s important. Another thing that’s been interesting is, and you’ve, you’ve seen some comments about it, the idea of turn on your camera, turn on your camera for connections and things like that.

Again, for a lot of people that’s intimidating. So instead of you being in your cube, you know, getting, getting your work done occasionally going into a meeting, you were literally, you know, at least top half camera ready all day long, all day long, you know? So, those are some challenges. Another one. And again, I’m sorry that I’m on some of the negatives, but you know, some of the employee resource groups that were created, so,  employee resource groups that is a phrase that’s thrown around. ERG BRGs, employee driven teams, you know, every there’s some variation, um, for every organization, but some of them are really strong in terms of affinity groups. Right? So that’s, especially, you know, people of color coming together. Genders, orientations, whatever it is to address their specific needs to provide each other with the support that they need.

Right. Some of those were great, especially when they have executive sponsors that get behind them. Another trend, however, is that when some of these affinity groups are started and I’m going to call it diversity, diluting is when the organization comes in and says, no, we want to unite you with everyone else.

Right? So instead of divide and conquer, it’s unite in conquer. So instead of issues of me as a Black man talking about mentorship, mental health, and wellness, you know, having that type of conversation, it’s now me as a Black man, but now I have to include everyone. And instead of support, For the group, it becomes an awareness committee for whichever month it is.

So again, I didn’t mean to go to the negative because I think I’ve seen these things done well, you know, Microsoft does it well, Pinterest does it. Well, Reddit does it. Well, other organizations who I’m not gonna call out, don’t do it. Don’t do it so well. Right. But again for marketing performative, a lot of people call it, woke washing, you know, you, you and I, if we didn’t know who they were and we didn’t spend time in those organizations, you’re trying to work with them.

You know, we wouldn’t know any difference.

Larry Baker: Yeah, that’s a great point, Harry. I absolutely agree with that. So your turn Ari, I’ll tell me about some good examples or not. So good examples of how organizations are addressing employees, mental health, holistic health, uh, whichever you choose. So

Ariel McGrew: I agree with almost everything Harry said, I was just at a panel for Reddit about Black identity in the corporate space. And, um, I love that they didn’t record it. It was just their Black resource group. Um, and they got to have an honest conversation. But I would say the organizations that bring in outside resources to me, those are the ones that do it well. So I would say like, we don’t really look at universities, but like as a professor at Pepperdine, I know there’s always something available to the students.

And, and I think that when we have these conversations, it is limited to who gets to be a part of them. And it’s like, okay, we’re talking about all people. That means regardless of where they are in society right now, this is an issue they are still dealing with as well. So I would say organizations that I see do it well, just as a resource, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, right.

They’ve got a peer recovery group for almost everything. Right. Um, I don’t think people often look at that as a non-traditional means to addressing mental health stuff. Right. Or even just providing the resources. I saw an uptick of mental health organizations come up, right? Like there’s, there’s apps now available for how you’re going to get the help talk space, better help.

I would even go so far as to say, before she quit, Netflix right? Like, I, I think that there was a lot that was going on across the board with organizations for how to have these conversations. And it had to do with like being in whatever niche they were. So it was, you know, recreating programming, how people will be entertained.

Uh, like I think the popular thing over the pandemic was, was at Bridgeton. I don’t know how to pronounce it. Right? Like, it’s like, that’s not the traditional way we see this. But that was like dialogue sparking for everyone. Like, damn, like, let me situate myself with how I actually understand what schema I want to be a part of.

Right. How I’m going to play up, play a role in this. And I think there’s a variety of different things. I mean, just from the world that I’m in Mental Health Association of America, the American Psychological Association finally has like, “oh, we apologize. We didn’t realize racism is a thing.” Oh no. Cause like all the founders of psychology are old white men from Europe

Yeah, I know you didn’t get it. Right. So there’s, there’s a variety of lenses to look at it from. So I can’t categorically say it’s this one group or that one group as much as it is across the board. When I think about the things that are most important, I think the education piece is always going to be there.

I think leadership and uncertainty is, is very real regardless of industry. And I think that that affects all of this. When we talk about holistic health.

Larry Baker: Awesome. Thank you.

Dr. Harry Petaway: You know, one of the, one of the things that Ari talked about had to do with those apps. So I, you know, some of the, it I’ve, I’ve worked with health information exchanges and all kinds of things, but I think those apps are really important, um, for, from, from two, two different aspects, one is Cerebral and another one of them, but one, it gives, um, Us as employees, individuals, and opportunity to seek care in ways that we may not have been able to get before.

You know, we talked before about, there’s a shortage of providers. You know, you get into rural communities and things like that. And there’s, I mean, it’s really a shortage in providers in terms of access, but these apps are very helpful, especially if the employer can support providing those apps for the employees.

So some type of financial assistance to actually get that. And another thing that I’ve seen employees taking responsibility themselves, but then again, the employer has to, the employer can help them achieve. This is creating virtual communities, which are a little bit different than employee resource groups.

It’s just a safe place to go and be. Period just to be, to be you, whoever you are, talk about, you know, whatever it is you saw on Netflix or what was on the news or in Ukraine, whatever, whatever it is, but just to have a safe place to go and talk to people and express yourself.

Larry Baker: Yeah, that’s great. So if I’m you know, this is just a lot of great conversation and I believe that, you know, there’s some things that we can do as action steps. So I am, let’s say that I’m an employee. I’m wanting to really look to take care of my health in this holistic manner, what are some action steps or best practices, if you will, that I can do to go on this journey of ensuring that my holistic health is a priority? So I’m going to ask Ariel, if you would start us off in that conversation and then Harry, give me some of your best practices.

And I know a lot of it depends on the individual, but I mean, in general, I have nowhere to start. What type of action steps would you recommend?

Ariel McGrew: I think Harry brought this up earlier about the benefits packages. You know, there are some organizations who have partnered with different gyms to get, you know, a percentage off of gym membership.

I believe that, you know, having some type of financial management course that they could go and participate in whenever they’re ready is, you know, a wise approach. I think in general, if you’re wanting to start your journey, stress management is the first place to start, right? Like if your job is stressful and you know that you probably want to identify what those high stressors are, and once you’ve identify those move in the direction towards resolving those personal discrepancies.

So, you know, if it’s recognizing that you, you need more social support. Finding out what’s available with the organization, as far as social support goes, like, are there company outings that you could participate in? Are there like camp, like, adventure trips or et cetera? Does the company even do like a yearly meetup retreat of some sort, right.

Would that be helpful to. Yeah. You know, I’ve, I’ve had the luxury of being able to work with organizations that do that every year. We, we all go to some off-site location and get to know the rest of the team, you know, and find out things about each other and, you know, you’re never solely, um, having to figure it all out by yourself, right?

There are other people who have resources. So simply making the ask. I think if, if you’re going to start the journey being realistic about like your level of comfort with vulnerability is, is a great place to start as well saying, like, “I need support in this area because here’s my current struggle.”

A lot of people don’t do that. Right. They’ll, they’ll talk around the subject, the issue, right? They’ll they’ll say it’s these things and really it’s these things. So that’s why I starting with those stressors are become really important. And then, you know, speaking to qualified experts. I want to say about this pandemic is I saw a whole bunch of people come to the surface and I was like, “please, somebody tell me why we just gave that man a platform.”

I need to understand this. Like, I think that’s important, right? Like talk to the right people, you know, not, not everybody that anybody can and not everybody in anybody’s quality of advice is helpful. So be mindful that you speak to the people who are going to assist you. In a way that you genuinely feel connected because holistic health is about like you genuinely wanting to show up for yourself, which means being very real with yourself.

What’s going on here.

Larry Baker: Yeah, that’s good. That’s good, Harry, your turn.

Dr. Harry Petaway: I’m still laughing. Cause I’m still laughing because I’m an aspiring creator, you know? So I’m like she talking about me. I don’t let him give the wrong advice. You know, there’s, there was a lot, a lot in there with what Ari said. So my, my advice would be you need to get to know yourself.

But the key of what Ari said for me is this it’s this vulnerability, right? So, in public health, we have this, a traditional model, the health belief model. Right? So the first part about the health belief model is it, you have to believe that holistic health is real. Right? Holistic health is something I might, you know, be able to get it and it’s worth my time and energy to go after it.

So the first part about that to me is to understand your world view. I, you know, I say things like recognize your bias. That’s a whole other conversation, but really understand who you are and where you fit in there. You probably need to go and really dig into what is holistic health. So, again, that kind of goes back to some of the, for me, it’s going back to some of the things that ours has be careful who you listen into, because there’s good.

Good and bad about what came out during the pandemic. You know, some of the good is that the internet has been flooded with content, you know, podcasts. Here we go. Experts, live streams, whatever, you know, that’s positive. But you, you might need to look beyond the production to make sure the person that’s talking knows what they’re talking about.

So, so, so be a little weary about, about what that is, but my suggestion is to get to know yourself where you’re at. Understand what your goals might be for holistic health. And it’s this one it’s going to sound, I don’t know how it’s going to sound, but I think that structuring your time and planning, whether you have to get on the internet and search Franklin Covey or buy a Franklin Covey planner or whatever, but find, something online that can give you some structure on how to manage your time, or manage your mind space on those different pillars as it relates to holistic health. I personally think that that would be one of the most beneficial things, because if you can manage your time in those buckets, it you’re visualizing it you’re understanding it. And you understand that you need to invest time and energy in those different areas. So, awareness, you know, get your Google on or whatever it is, you know, to get to understand yourself benefits, pay. For sure understand what’s in your benefits package. I mean, there’s things, gym memberships, like Ari said, what is your mental health and wellness benefit?

Employee assistance programs are something that I don’t think enough people tap into. And the benefit with employee assistance programs are that there’s no, co-pay. There, there’s literally, there’s a lot of people just waiting for you to call because you know, your, your employer bought a package that they don’t really understand, so they can’t explain it to you.

So they don’t know that you can talk to somebody about financial wellness. You know, my, my mother passed away earlier this year. I could have used some grief counseling, you know, those types of things. They provide things like, um, Couples counseling, dealing with your kids, you know, in a certain level of benefits before you have to get referred to, you know, into the network and actually playing.

Ariel McGrew: So for those. I know all about this employee systems program, showing sometimes people don’t realize that short solution-focused brief therapy here. You’re not going to get more than six sessions out of that. So would you, you’re telling them to go plan it’s it’s it’s like, as you said, like, really understand why that’s a short-term benefit and why you have to actually think about the continuity of care they’re after.

Dr. Harry Petaway: Absolutely. And you know that, so that goes back to the point about like understanding your benefits in general. Because we’re getting into this nuanced conversation about what type of benefit that is, how it works. Um, but what you need to be prepared for afterwards. So I, I appreciate you brought that up because me saying that out loud, I think you would have understood how, what the limits were, but whoever’s listening might understand, might not have gotten, okay, now it’s going to stop and then you’re going to go somewhere else.

Ariel McGrew: Yeah. Well , I think sometimes people don’t know models of therapy, right? We talk about holistic care as this all encompassing thing, but there are approaches that are more appropriate for some people than others. So the short-term solution focus is actually evidence-based approved to be most effective. I can tell you all my clinical clients are white all my mental health clients are Black and Hispanic. They don’t want to waste their time. They want to give me what I need to do. Help me understand this and this, because I have that very military approach. Like you don’t come to me with this BS, if you’re not going to change it, because at the end of the day, nothing changes until you can change.

So if we’re talking about holistic care and you’re saying you want all these things, you have to understand, you have to be willing to undergo change,

Larry Baker: Yeah, that’s a great point. And it, for the last part of the particular for this podcast, I was just going to give you an opportunity to say something that, you know, we may not have addressed.

So if you had a closing thought. That you wanted to share with my audience? What would that be? So, Ariel, I’m going to ask you to go first. Give me your closing thought when it comes to holistic health care and Harry, I’ll ask you to do the same thing in regard to your closing thoughts. So Ariel, if you would

Ariel McGrew: Sure.

I would say, do what makes the most sense for you, but be realistic about that? You know, so if you’re struggling financially, you can fix that. But if you’re lazy, that’s a whole ‘nother thing. You gotta be realistic about them. And if you’re going to go, because there are holistic practitioners out there, I would just caveat this.

And this is I stand by this. Not every therapist is a healer, not every healer is a clinician and not every clinician will minister to your soul. You have to understand what you need at that given point of time when you’re coming across people who you are enlisting to support you in your growth,

Dr. Harry Petaway: I want to, so, you know, one of the things that we didn’t talk about a lot is responsibility. And is it the employer’s responsibility? Or is it the employee or the individual responsibility? I’m going to say yes. Right? Just, just across the board. It’s yes. I think that employees should understand how their structures are set in how, what they do, what their culture is like, how that impacts their employees.

Holistic health, holistic health equity. I don’t know if anybody uses that, but it is an outcome of a lot of inputs. So I think we need to understand as an employer, what our role is into those things. Now that said, this is, you know, I’m gonna try not to get on my soap box, but as individuals, we need to own our stuff.

Right. We need to own the quality of our lives, not be victims, right. And take opportunities to make our lives better. Live the lives that we want to be. And if there’s something in your way of that, you find a way around it now. That’s, those are harsh words…

Ariel McGrew: Reality is not soft.

Yeah, and I, and I don’t mean it in a way, but what I, what I want people to understand employers, you absolutely have a role to play in this and don’t hide behind anything and say, you know, that’s, that’s not our issue, but as an individual, we can’t afford to have people do things for us all the time, because it may never happen.

It may not happen. Three years from now, right. You know, four years from now, we put together a program in place to help you. Well, I needed that help, you know, before all the rest of the bad stuff happened with me. So back to, you know, Educate yourself, understand your worldview, decide the type of life that you want to live.

And, you know, Ari set up said that the “V” word, you know, you need to be vulnerable, right? You need to admit to some of your shortcomings, but it’s okay. Wherever you are. When you do your self assessment about what you are right now, that’s who you are on your story. Go forward and try to make your life better.

You need to take responsibility for that.

Larry Baker: That’s great. Thank you both so much for this conversation. I think that you have shed some light on some topics that quite frankly, a lot of people have never really taken the time to stop and think about. So I appreciate each one of you and our conversation today, I’m going to give you an opportunity, Harry, if my listeners want to get in contact with you, give me a piece of your contact information that would be best.

Dr. Harry Petaway: And I think the best place to find me right now, I’m focused a lot of my energy on, on LinkedIn. I’m trying to put out some relevant content, a live stream. So reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’d love it. If you follow me I’m always looking for conversations like this. So if there’s anything we talk about that you want to just, even if it’s just one-on-one I want to take a deep dive, you know, just hit me up.

Larry Baker: Awesome. Ariel, same with you. How do I reach out to you?

Ariel McGrew: C O is not a type-o, there was no M. But if you want to find out like what, I’m about, I highly recommend going to our YouTube. Look at our tik toks before you decide to engage with me. Cause it’s not what you’re used to, but it’s definitely going to benefit you in the long run.

And our reviews are all over the internet. You can google us.

Larry Baker: Awesome. Thank you both so much for this enlightening conversation. And again, I truly think that there was some information shared that will allow folks to take charge of their own holistic health and their own wellbeing. So thank you so much for your time and your participation.

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