Mental health touches us all. In fact, we know that nearly 100% of workers have faced mental health challenges, either personally or through a loved one. And in today’s world filled with unprecedented challenges, mental health and wellness is more important than ever.

That’s why in Accenture’s culture of equality, it’s not just OK for our people to talk about their mental well-being and get the support they need, when and how they need it — it’s encouraged.

I practiced family medicine for nearly two decades, which means I’ve pretty much seen it all. In 2015, I hung up my stethoscope so I could continue to make an impact beyond the under-resourced communities where I built such strong roots.

As part of Accenture’s commitment to the well-being of its people, leadership recently created a new position: Chief Health Officer. In this role, my primary focus is to devise strategies to improve the health and well-being of our more than 600,000 people so they can bring their fullest and best selves to work.

I’ll be partnering with our Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, Ellyn Shook, to understand our people’s needs — across different geographies, cultures, and demographics — and create our new status quo. We recognize that supporting mental health and disability inclusion accelerates a culture of equality for everyone. We know that being at our best means focusing equal effort on both our mental and physical well-being.

Our most important message to our people? You matter. We need to normalize taking care of yourself, and we support you in whatever that means for you. You’re here for a reason. We need your gifts. We need your skills. We need your talents. So let’s partner to do that.

The most important way to support people is by listening. If you listen, then you’re able to meet people’s needs. I’ll start by listening and learning and contributing more meaningfully to all the tremendous work that’s already been done regarding the health and safety of our people in the age of COVID.

Mental well-being is a big part of that. This virtually connected world that we’re experiencing right now is going to be with us for a while. Beyond the pandemic, we also have life challenges that impact who we are and how we show up.

We want to make sure our people feel they’re part of a community, that they feel supported and valued even though they may not be working in an office on a regular basis.

So how are we listening and taking action to support our people’s needs? Here are a few ways:

  • Our Mental Health Ally network of more than 8,900 trained individuals across all our operating countries provides compassionate support to anyone who needs it and connects them to professional help.
  • Our Employee Assistance Program is available around the globe, 24 hours a day, for our employees and their loved ones to get the support they need.
  • We offer innovative tools and resources such as Thriving Mind, created in partnership with Stanford Medicine and Thrive Global, to focus on better understanding the impact of negative stress and ways to build brain resiliency.
  • Our new Mental Health Essentials training will help our people understand the signs that a colleague needs help, how to have a conversation on mental health and the steps to take to support someone in need.
  • We support organizations like the Global Shapers Community to revolutionize the conversation about mental health and wellness around the globe.