Little do people know that global financial services giant, American Express has been a pioneer of employee health and wellbeing support for over one hundred years. In the company’s early days, they had the foresight to invest in on-site health clinics for staff (something many employers are only now starting to implement). Since then, AMEX’s health and wellbeing program has grown to improve the lives of its over 50,000 employees across the world.
Over the past 11 years, supporting the mental health of their workforce has become a growing priority for AMEX, through its global Healthy Minds program. And at the center of the success of the program, is its creator, Dr. Charles Lattarulo, Director of Behavioral Health. We’re thrilled to welcome Charles as a speaker at Make a Difference (digital) Summit US in association with Mind Share Partners on October 15th.
In this profile interview, Charles gives us a preview of the insights he’ll be sharing at the summit.
What’s your professional background at American Express (AMEX)? How did you come into your role looking after the global workplace mental health program?
I am a psychologist by trade and the creator of the Healthy Minds program at American Express.
Realizing that our employees are our most valuable resource, and wanting to treat our employees like we do our customers, American Express hired me to manage the emotional well-being of our colleagues.
How long has AMEX had a support program for staff mental health? Is this a national or international program?
Mental health programing has been in place at American Express for many years – first as an in-house EAP program and later as a telephonic only model. Over the years the program has morphed to our hybrid model with counsellors in many areas of concentration, as well as a suite of vendor services.
In addition, American Express offers an array of mental health products and services designed to meet the needs of our employees and their families. Our program is global and covers 100% of our employees.
What would you say has been the most effective aspect of the Healthy Minds program?
The most effective part is creating a comprehensive mental health strategy that includes understanding and responding to the changing and varied needs or our population. In addition, understanding the holistic nature of mental health and caring for our employees in a variety of ways including physical, financial, and mental health.
Since COVID-19 what has been the most effective aspect of Healthy Minds?
Creating new products and services specifically around COVID has been particularly effective. These include counsellor run drop-in groups, virtual meditation services and apps, webinars and trainings specifically around COVID and assuring the availability of virtual counselling.
Is there anything you’d like to share about your participation in the session, Responding to the Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis at Make a Difference in association with Mind Share Partners?
I’m thrilled to be able to share the progress we have made in responding to COVID and hope it can make a difference to others who are working in this space.