HOW TO 'COME OUT' AS AN EMPLOYEE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
By Jenn Renoe, Associate Media Director, Publicis Health Media
Excerpted from Ad Age:
“In March, I acted as organizer and host for SXSW’s second annual Mental Health Meet-Up. To my surprise—and delight—everyone in attendance expressed that they’d love to just tell their stories. It was incredibly powerful to witness, especially because some talked about things they’d never talked about with anyone—not a therapist, not friends, not family members. There were real tears, hugs, love and care.
Experiences like this—that break down barriers, destroy inhibitions and ultimately build us up—are exactly what I hope to create with my work in health-care media. For me, it isn’t just about helping to promote a drug, product or experience. It’s about helping people feel empowered about the care that they have and helping them know that they have the power to take control of their own health journey.
In order to accomplish that mission, it’s vital that I feel personally empowered in my workplace. I loved my previous company, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that my co-workers were looking through me to the person I used to be. I needed a fresh start.
My current employer has a wonderful LGBT affinity group and garnered a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. But when we moved into a new office last month, which required us to share common space and restrooms with three other agencies, I constantly worried that someone who didn’t know me and my story would make a snide remark in the bathroom or, worse, try to report me as being a man in the women’s bathroom.
Fortunately, nothing of the sort happened. I’ve since grown more comfortable in our new space, but that initial anxiety highlights the uphill battle that a transgender person faces in a workplace that wasn’t built for us.”
Read the full article on Ad Age.