This past year, we partnered with ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) Colorado-based at the University of Colorado Anschutz to develop a series for employers—a new, innovative use of that platform. ECHO Colorado provides a unique platform that usually targets health professionals. ECHO sessions combine the interactive learning and case-based sharing aspects of an in-person training with the improved access and convenience of connecting through an online virtual experience focused on peer connection.
Employers are a new audience for ECHO Colorado. To launch the series, we planned and hosted an ECHO live event in August 2019. Over 50 participants attended and were able to work through a series of case studies addressing mental health in the workplace with guidance from experts. They were also introduced to resources and services available in their community. We covered topics such as mental health and workplace stigma; emerging employer approaches to employee mental health; and strategies for increasing and integrating mental health resources into the workplace. Overall satisfaction rating from the 62 participants was 4.5/5.0. Attendees indicated a number of actions they were planning to take as a result of attending the training, including creating or better advertising employee assistance programs, providing more training to managers, and checking in with employees.
The full online ECHO series—Solutions for Workplace Behavior and Mental Health Challenges—was held in fall 2019 as a follow-up. Participants learned how to create awareness in the workplace, reduce stigma around mental health, and learned skills for having constructive and supportive conversations in signs of stressors. This first-of-its-kind ECHO series cohort was made up of 27 participants representing diverse backgrounds, industries, and 13 counties across Colorado.
We asked participants what was most valuable?
“Being able to learn and share interests and ideas about this important topic with other professionals.”
“The engagement and interaction with other members during the webinars and breakouts, also the base
education for each topic.”
“The insight from guest speakers, communication exercises, and identifying solutions.”