Jennifer Stone, a preferred accounts manager in Roofing Systems, is doing her part to bring attention to safety in the workplace – particularly mental health safety.
Recently, the California-based Johns Manville employee who has been with the company for five years, took it upon herself to complete a special certification in mental health first aid. As Johns Manville marked Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Jennifer talked to us about the certification and why she pursued the training.
“The need is great and the stigma around these topics is even greater,” Jennifer said. “I wanted to take the class to dive deeper into the issues facing our industry and I also want to be able to have the resources available, when needed.”
The program was brough to her attention by a fellow member of the National Women in Roofing’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee. Previously, the pair had worked together to cultivate an educational program called REAL ROOFING, focusing on DE&I in construction.
The certification, Jennifer said, is a tool to help assess mental health and addiction in workplaces. “Assessing the warning signs, how to approach and not hide from these important issues, finding resources and leaning into the conversations are all a part of the class."
The class is accredited through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and provides a three-year certification upon completion, she added. Participants come away with tools including how to identify those at risk and connect them to support, how to interact with a person in crisis and ways to start the conversation on mental health with management.
“The more we talk about these issues that plague our society, the less we hide from the unknown,” Jennifer said. “This certification is just one step to open doors to conversations. We wouldn’t think of avoiding other education surrounding safety in our work environments, this is another safety measure that needs attention.”
She encouraged others to look into the training and to make mental health awareness a priority.
“Make this important in your own life and work environments,” she said. “Statistics show that addressing mental health and addiction saves lives. This is not going away; we all have to do our part.”
Mental health and addiction are all around us, Jennifer said, adding that she doesn’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected by the pains of addiction, mental health and suicide.
“By doing this, we support the trade that supports us,” she said.