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How Companies Teach Their Employees First Aid for Mental Health

At Delta Air Lines’ Atlanta headquarters in late January, 24 employees are arguing over which of them has the worst disease. Half of them had been given cards naming a physical or mental health diagnosis and were told to line up, from the least debilitating to the most.

The woman holding “gingivitis” quickly takes a place at the far left of the line. But everyone further down to the right—low back pain, moderate depression, paraplegia, severe PTSD—keeps switching spots.

“Severe vision loss,” someone says to the man holding the corresponding card, “are you a pilot?” He doesn’t know. There is no further information: not what the person does for a living, whether their condition is well managed, or if they have health care coverage.

“We’re in a pickle down here,” a woman pleads to the instructor, Rochele Burnette, who’s standing by, silent and smiling. Burnette waits until someone finally suggests the right answer: they should be in a vertical line, not a horizontal one. “How we look at a mental disorder and how we look at a physical condition should be the same,” Burnette says. “One could be just as debilitating as the other.”

This is the first lesson of Mental Health First Aid at Work, a training that the National Council for Behavioral Health provides, for a cost, to a growing number of corporations. Of the people taking today’s class, some were there because they had seen firsthand how much a mental health crisis can impact the workplace. A Delta employee killed himself several months ago, and counselors were brought in to help the many people who were affected. Others wanted to improve their mental-health vocabulary, and their confidence in handling related issues. “When someone says, ‘Hi, do you have a minute?’ we never really know what’s going to follow,” one HR employee says in the class. “Sometimes it’s very easy, and sometimes we quickly find ourselves in uncomfortable situations.”

Over the next four hours, the Delta employees learn how to spot symptoms and warning signs of possible mental health concerns in a colleague, reach out and offer initial help, then guide them to professional help and the resources the company offers, like short-term counseling through the free employee assistance program (EAP) and a confidential app that lets you chat immediately with behavioral health coaches. Getting the words right can be tricky; much of the class is devoted to figuring out what to say to a coworker in distress. On everybody’s desk is a handout of helpful and harmful phrases. “One of the things you’ll see on your card is How are you doing, really?” says Burnette. “That ‘really’ really pulls out something extra.” In the potentially harmful category: putting off the conversation until later in the week, suggesting they simply work it out with their manager, or telling them to “just hang in there.”

The office may seem an unlikely place for such a class, but Burnette reminds her students that the historical norm to keep your personal life at home is unrealistic. “What affects you in your life affects you in your work,” she tells the group.

There are no requirements that U.S. employers provide mental health training. But as mental illness diagnoses and suicide rates rise in the U.S., while the stigma of talking about them drops, companies are finding that their employees want a bigger focus on mental health at work. “A little over a year ago, we really started to hear more and more from employees about the need for these kinds of services,” says Rob Kight, senior vice president of human resources at Delta. “It caused us to take a deep look at what we were providing. And we decided, you know, it’s not enough.”

Prioritizing employees’ mental health has become not just a moral issue, but also a tool to recruit and retain young talent. A 2019 poll by the American Psychiatric Association found that millennials—who now comprise the largest generation in the U.S. workforce—tend to be more comfortable than their older peers discussing their mental health at work. Investing in this area may also make financial sense, since untreated mental illness and substance abuse issues can be costly for employers. Untreated depression alone costs the average 1,000-person U.S. company more than $1.4 million per year due to missed days and lost productivity, according to the Center for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Association Foundation.

Corporate trainings have emerged as popular solutions, and Mental Health First Aid at Work is among the most widely used. Mental Health First Aid started in 2000 in Australia as a way to educate people about what to do when they encounter someone experiencing mental health problems, which are much more common than the emergencies traditional first aid courses teach. It later spread to 27 countries, each with their own licensing organizations. In the U.S., the National Council for Behavioral Health runs the program, and in 2013 it launched a version tailored for the workplace. More than 200 companies—including Bank of America, Gillette, Starbucks and Unilever—have offered one or both of its four- and eight-hour training programs to employees, says Betsy Schwartz, vice president for public education and strategic initiatives at the National Council for Behavioral Health.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in corporate interest,” Schwartz says. “In companies that train a larger number of employees, we get feedback about a whole culture shift.” Though there hasn’t been much research on the work-specific training, some studies have found that Mental Health First Aid improves knowledge about mental health, and confidence in responding to related issues, for the people who take it. The benefits to the person receiving help from a person who’s gone through the training, however, are not clear.

The number of organizations that run this type of training is growing. The Center for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Association Foundation is developing a digital training for managers called “Notice. Talk. Act. at Work,” which teaches the early warning signs of mental health issues and how to have empathetic, compassionate conversations. “We cannot talk about mental health enough in the workplace,” says Darcy Gruttadaro, director of the Center for Workplace Mental Health. “We have a long way to go—the more we can reinforce it, the better.” Some companies have developed their own programs. The consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton trained all employees in 2018 and 2019 to spot the five signs of emotional suffering—depression, in other words. The professional services firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young) offers digital training to help employees recognize the signs that a colleague is struggling and connect them to company resources.

Merely offering services and resources isn’t always enough. Employees have to know about and trust them. Most large companies have a free EAP, for example, which typically offers short-term counseling sessions and other wellbeing services for employees and their family members through outside providers. But even when people are aware that their company has an EAP, they often fear their HR department is monitoring who uses the programs, and that doing so could be a black mark on their employment record. As a result, many studies show that EAPs have historically been underused. “There shouldn’t be, but there is a stigma around this that exists in our country,” says Kight. “We have to help break that down and let people know that it’s okay to take advantage of these services.”

Soon, the two dozen Delta employees in today’s training will join the more than 600 who have completed Mental Health First Aid at Work since the airline started offering it in 2019. Though it’s not mandatory, the goal is for all 90,000 employees to take it, according to Delta’s HR team.

After Burnette gives the students a lesson in what to do if a coworker is having a panic attack, she ends on a hopeful note: proven ways a person can help themselves feel better. Exercise is one, and so are sleep, relaxation and 12-step programs. “But let me tell you something about this one right here,” she says, pointing to a slide on family, friends, faith and other social networks. “When you know you have people you can talk to that are nonjudgmental—I can go to you and have the conversation, and no matter what, you’ll listen—people have had better outcomes, because they have support.”

“I want to speak to that, because I’ve been thinking about how I can articulate this,” says a young man sitting in the front row. “Very early on in life, I found myself trying to remove stigma around mental health and talk about it, because I saw it in my family. It made me say to myself, I don’t want this to happen to me, so how can I make it normal? I started to talk to my friends and people that I’m close with. I say, hey guys, let’s get together and have drinks, and talk about what’s really going on.”

There’s no reason why conversations like these can’t happen in the workplace, too, the new thinking goes. “We’ve all grown up thinking certain conversations are professional and certain conversations are not professional,” Burnette says. “We bring our whole selves to work, so why can’t we talk about our whole self?”

By Mandy Oaklander February 12, 2020

Source: How Companies Teach Their Employees First Aid for Mental Health

Workplace wellness is important, and a key component is paying attention to employees’ mental health. In fact, 217 workdays are lost each year as a result of mental illness and substance use disorders. Learn how Mental Health First Aid can help start the conversation on mental health in your place of work.

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Warren Buffett Is Selling His Newspaper Empire After Lamenting Industry Is ‘Toast’

Warren Buffett attends the Forbes Media Centennial Celebration at Pier 60 on September 19, 2017 in New York City.

Warren Buffett is getting out of the newspaper business. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to sell its BH Media unit and its 30 daily newspapers to Lee Enterprises Inc., which owns papers including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, for $140 million in cash. Lee has been managing the papers for Buffett’s company since 2018, and Berkshire is loaning Lee the money for the purchase.

Buffett, who got a job delivering papers as a teenager and invested in the industry to capitalize on its one-time local advertising stronghold, lamented last year that most newspapers are “toast.” BH Media, which owns papers across the country, has been cutting jobs for years to cope with declining ad revenue.

“We had zero interest in selling the group to anyone else for one simple reason: We believe that Lee is best positioned to manage through the industry’s challenges,” Buffett said in a statement Wednesday.

In 2018, Buffett acknowledged that he was surprised that the decline in demand for newspapers hadn’t let up and that his company hadn’t found a successful strategy to combat falling advertising and circulation. That same year, U.S. newspaper circulation dropped to its lowest levels since 1940, according to the Pew Research Center.

The Lee sale will include Buffett’s hometown Omaha World-Herald and Buffalo News, a paper he’s owned for more than four decades, along with 49 weekly publications and a number of other print products, the companies said in the statement. Lee’s shares jumped on the news, more than doubling to $2.78 at 9:51 a.m. in New York.

Lee Loan

Berkshire is lending Lee $576 million at a 9% annual rate for the purchase and to refinance other debt. Excluded from the sale is BH Media’s real estate, which Lee is leasing under a 10-year agreement.

It’s a rare move for the conglomerate as Buffett has long said that he prefers to hold onto businesses. The newspaper deal, however, is Berkshire’s second divestiture in less than a year, including the sale of an insurance business in late 2019. Berkshire has held onto other old-fashioned businesses, including door-to-door vacuum-cleaner business Kirby Co. and encyclopedia publisher World Book.

Aside from a few bright spots, such as the largely thriving New York Times Co., the newspaper business is in crisis across the U.S. McClatchy Co. — which owns about 30 newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Charlotte Observer — is fighting to avoid bankruptcy as it contends with pension obligations and debt. The Salt Lake Tribune became a nonprofit last year, after failing to find a profitable business model.

As print advertising has cratered in recent years amid the rise of social media, Craigslist and search ads, private equity firms and hedge funds have swooped in to take advantage of newspapers’ steady though dwindling revenue streams.

New Media Investment Group Inc., controlled by private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC, bought USA Today owner Gannett Co. last year to form the largest U.S. newspaper chain. The deal spurred apprehension in journalism circles given New Media’s reputation for newsroom layoffs, though the new Gannett leadership pledged to avoid widespread job cuts.

––With assistance from Gerry Smith.

By Katherine Chiglinsky and John J. Edwards III / Bloomberg

January 29, 2020

Source: Warren Buffett Is Selling His Newspaper Empire After Lamenting Industry Is ‘Toast’

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This London Tycoon Harbors A Surprisingly Shady Past

Tej Kohli’s name is up in lights in Paris, flashing on the walls in giant, bold type inside the new high-ceilinged headquarters of French e-sports Team Vitality, a 20-minute walk from the city’s Gare du Nord train station. Some of Europe’s top video game players, influencers, journalists and sponsors have arrived on this November day to buoyantly pay tribute to Kohli, a U.K.-based, Indian-born entrepreneur, now heralded as the lead investor in the e-sports team. Team Vitality has raised at least $37 million and scored partnership deals with Adidas, Renault, telecom firm Orange and Red Bull, with a stated goal to become the top team in European competitive gaming.

E-sports, Kohli proudly tells Forbes, “encompasses the entire spectrum of business … [and is] not very different from other things we do in technology.” His wavy mane of dark hair stands out in the room like a beacon, as he beams amid the buzz and recognition.

London is home to 55 billionaires, with more on the outskirts, and they generally fall into two camps: those who completely shun publicity, and those, like Richard Branson and James Dyson, who enthusiastically embrace it. Kohli, who lives in a multimillion-dollar mansion in leafy Henley-on-Thames, aspires aggressively to the latter. In April, Kohli told the FT’s How To Spend It supplement that, “Sometimes in business it’s important to show you can sell yourself by way of your lifestyle.” His website describes him as “Investor, Entrepreneur, Visionary, Philanthropist,” with photos of an apparent property portfolio, with about half a dozen apartment buildings in Berlin, one in India and an office tower in Abu Dhabi. He claims to be a member of two exclusive London private clubs, 5 Hertford Street and Annabels, and publicly gives tips on “foie gras … roast chicken” and places where “the steaks are huge.”

Kohli has employed a large coterie of PR consultants and actively courts the media, pushing grand visions that back up this image. In a 2013 article he wrote for The Guardian, he offers advice on how to get a job in the tech industry (“Learn to code”). In 2016 he told a Forbes contributor: “The one mission that every entrepreneur has, as a person rather than as an entrepreneur, is to extend human life.” And his Tej Kohli Foundation Twitter bio brags that “We are humanitarian technologists developing solutions to major global health challenges whilst also making direct interventions that transform lives worldwide.” A press release issued in mid December boasted of more than 5,700 of the world’s poorest receiving “the gift of sight” in 2019 at Kohli’s cornea institute in Hyderabad, India.


Kohli also aspires to be validated as a billionaire. Over the past two years, his representatives have twice reached out to Forbes to try to get Kohli included on our billionaires list, the first time saying he was worth $6 billion—more than Branson or Dyson—and neither time following up with requested details of his assets. (Kohli’s attorneys now claim that “as a longstanding matter of policy,” Kohli “does not, and has never commented on his net worth,” suggesting that his representatives were pushing for his billionaire status without his authorization.)

There may be good reason for his reticence. It turns out that Kohli—who in a July press release describes himself as “a London-based billionaire who made his fortune during the dotcom boom selling e-commerce payments software”—has a complicated past. Born in New Delhi in 1958, Kohli was convicted of fraud in California in 1994 for his central role convincing homeowners to sell their homes to what turned out to be sham buyers and bilking banks out of millions of dollars in loans. For that he served five years in prison.

Kohli then turned up in Costa Rica, where he found his way into the world of online gambling during its Wild West era in the early 2000s. He ran online casinos, at least one sports betting site, and online bingo offerings, taking payments from U.S. gamblers even after U.S. laws prohibited it, according to seven former employees. He was a demanding, sometimes angry boss, according to several of these employees.

A spokesman for Kohli confirmed that he ran an online payments company, Grafix Softech, which provided services to the online gambling industry, between 1999 and 2006—and that he acquired several distressed or foreclosed online gaming businesses as a limited part of the company’s portfolio. “At no point was any such business operated in breach of the law,” Kohli’s representative said in a statement.                   

Though his representative claims that Kohli has had nothing to do with Grafix since 2006, Forbes found more than a dozen online posts or references (some deleted, some still live and some on Kohli’s own website) between 2010 and 2016 that identify Kohli as the chief executive or leader of Grafix Softech—including the opinion piece that Kohli wrote for The Guardian in 2013.                        

Even in a world of preening tycoons, this juxtaposition—the strutting thought leader who actively gives business advice while he just as actively tries to stifle or downplay any sustained look into his business past—proves eye-opening.

According to Kohli’s back story, he grew up in New Delhi, India, and he has told the British media that he’s the son of middle-class parents. Per his alumni profile for the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (about 300 miles southeast of New Delhi), Kohli completed a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1980 and developed “a deep passion for technology and ethical and sustainable innovation.”

At some point, he wound up in California, and set up a “domestic stock” business called La Zibel in downtown Los Angeles. Kohli still uses the Zibel name for his real estate operations today. By the end of the 1980s, Kohli was presenting himself as a wealthy real estate investor who purchased residential properties in southern California to resell for profit. The truth, according to U.S. District Court documents, was that from March 1989 through the early 1990s Kohli, then reportedly living in Malibu, had assembled a team of document forgers and “straw buyers” to pull off a sophisticated real estate fraud.

Source: This London Tycoon Harbors A Surprisingly Shady Past

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… a scalable, accessible and affordable technology solution to end corneal blindness worldwide. VIDEO: Wendy & Tej Kohli Discuss The Mission And Purpose Of The Tej Kohli Foundation https://www.businesswire.com/news/hom…

7 Ways To Become More Mentally Immune And Emotionally Resilient

Mental immunity is the foundation of emotional resilience.

The same way in which a cold or flu can derail the health of someone who is already ill, a small setback or troubling thought can do the same to someone who is not “mentally immune.” Mental immunity is what happens when we condition our minds to not only expect fearful thoughts or external challenges, but to tolerate them when they arise. It is shifting one’s objective in life from avoiding pain to building meaning, recognizing that pain will be some part of the journey regardless.

Mental immunity is not being able to resist or deny negative thoughts, it is being able to observe them without acting on them, or automatically believing they represent reality.

uncaptionedWhen we have mental immunity, we are able to become a third party observer to our thoughts and feelings. We can identify what we need, what we don’t want, and what really matters to us. Through the process of reintegration – or nonresistance – we become more capable of tolerating thoughts that scare us. The less reactive we are to them, the more we can learn. Frequently, there is an unhealed root association with recurring thoughts we have, or feelings that keep coming up. Being able to process these uncomfortable sensations will not only help us overcome singular issues but progress our lives forward in other ways, too.

So, we know that mental immunity is good, but when we are in the thick of our suffering, how do we begin to build it?

Today In: Leadership

1. Adopt an attitude of progress, not perfection.

Aiming for even a 1% improvement in your behavior or coping mechanisms each day is more effective than trying to radically revolutionize your life for one reason only: the former is actually attainable.

2. Be careful not to identify with that which you struggle.

A lot of people who have spent their lives struggling with anxiety begin to assume that it is just part of their personality. “I am an anxious person,” or similar phrases, are common but not necessarily true. Adopting an idea about yourself into your identity means that you believe it is who you fundamentally are, which makes it significantly more difficult to change.

3. Stop trying to eradicate fear.

Expect the fearful thought, but recognize that it is not always reflective of reality.

4. Interpret “weird” or upsetting thoughts as symbols, not realities.

If you are afraid of driving in the car by yourself, or losing a job, or being stuck in some kind of natural disaster, consider what that could represent in your life (perhaps you feel as though you are disconnected from loved ones, or that you are “unsafe” in some way). Most of these are trying to direct you to make a change, so honor them.

5. Be willing to see change.

When people struggle with something for long periods of time, there can be a resistance to seeing anything change, simply because of the length of time it has been going on. The willingness to see something change actually begins to change it. If you can do nothing else in a day, say out loud: I am willing to see this change. 

6. Imagine what you would do with your life if fear were no object. 

That is what you should be doing now. Focusing too much on trying to “get over” something actually reinforces it. It keeps us in the space of being broken. Learning to refocus on what matter is what actually gets us to move on.

7. Be present.

Everything in your life that is sabotaging you is the product of being unwilling to be present. We shop, spend, eat, drink, dream and plan our way out of the present moment constantly, which means that we never confront the feelings that we are carrying around. Being present is essential for developing mental strength and emotional health, because it allows us to actually respond to our thoughts and feelings in real time, and to confront that which unnerves us before we adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms to eradicate it.

The subconscious mind believes whatever it feels to be true. Therefore, it is easy for us to program ourselves to be subconsciously convinced that we are inadequate, in danger, or unloved. Mental immunity is what happens when we bring those ideas to the forefront of our consciousness and debunk them by marrying our feelings with reason.

Consistently reminding ourselves that a spectrum of feeling is healthy and helpful and letting go of the idea that overcoming something means eradicating it, rather than learning to act in spite of it, will help us to inch toward the lives we aspire to, rather than succumb to being victims of our own minds.

Source: 7 Ways To Become More Mentally Immune And Emotionally Resilient

Watch today’s video to learn about the importance of having what the Dalai Lama calls ‘mental immunity’ in life and love. Listen to a story about my firstborn son, and how he helped me develop the mental immunity that saved my sanity. ▼ Don’t Miss Out! Subscribe to my YouTube channel now. ►►
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Eduardo Saverin’s VC Firm B Capital Raises $406 Million In First Close Of New Fund, Filing Shows

Eduardo Saverin raises new fund

Eduardo Saverin and his VC firm B Capital just filed a $406 million first close of their new fund.Bryan van der Beek for Forbes

The venture capital firm cofounded by Facebook billionaire Eduardo Saverin and partner Raj Ganguly has raised hundreds of millions in new funding to invest in startups.

B Capital has raised $406 million in a first close of its second fund, according to a new regulatory filing with the SEC obtained on Friday. The firm, which wrote in the filing it had raised that amount from 62 investors since late March, indicated that it planned to raise more than that amount, which already tops the $360 million it raised for its first fund.

B Capital declined to comment on the filing or its funding plans.

Earlier in March, Forbes published a wide-ranging interview with Saverin, the cofounder of Facebook who moved to Singapore in 2009. In that article, Saverin and Ganguly revealed a strategy to invest in companies with an international focus—B Capital maintains offices in California, New York and Saverin’s Singapore—and ones that can benefit from a “special relationship” with Boston Consulting Group, the consulting firm that is one of the anchor investors in B Capital’s initial fund.

At the time, B Capital had made about 20 investments from that fund, using up much of its “dry powder,” as the industry sometimes refers to money available to invest in startups. A source told Forbes at the time that B Capital would look to raise a second fund of approximately twice the size of its first later in 2019. That remains the goal after this first filing, the source says now.

At the time, B Capital had recently expanded to bring on a seventh partner, Karen Appleton Page, a former executive at Box and Apple. With seven investment partners and check sizes that can run into the tens of millions, it’s not surprising that B Capital, still just four years old, would seek out so much money so fast.

“No matter how lucky or blessed I might be, I will never retire on a beach,” Saverin told Forbes in early 2019. “We are still so early into making the technologies that will impact the world.”

Read more of Saverin’s views—and see how B Capital is looking to stand out in a crowded venture capital market—check the full feature story here.

Follow Alex on Forbes and Twitter for more coverage of startups, enterprise software and venture capital. 

I’m an associate editor at Forbes covering venture capital, cloud and enterprise software out of New York. I edit the Midas List, Midas List Europe, Cloud 100 list and 3…

Source: Eduardo Saverin’s VC Firm B Capital Raises $406 Million In First Close Of New Fund, Filing Shows

An Entrepreneur’s Framework For Gaining Mental Clarity In Stressful Situations – Chris Myers

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Anyone can survive the short-term fear of a roller coaster. Not everyone can endure the stress of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship isn’t like a ride or a game, where there is a finite ending to the experience. The stress and fear of entrepreneurship is pervasive, persistent, and cumulative over time. Chronic stress negatively impacts both our physical and mental well-being, and it severely hampers our decision-making abilities……

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/09/24/an-entrepreneurs-framework-for-gaining-mental-clarity-in-stressful-situations/#34808e131f01

 

 

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