Employees with mental illness need to be supported in the same way as people with physical illness, UMass Medical School’s Joyce A. Murphy, MPA, said in an article about mental health in the workplace published in Worcester Business Journal’s Health quarterly.
"If we're not looking out for our employees, we're not going to be a good employer, and we're not going to be able to achieve our mission very well," Murphy, executive vice chancellor of UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, told Health.
Murphy was one of the first 25 CEOS in Massachusetts to in June sign NAMI Massachusetts’s CEOs Against Stigma pledge, which strives to end the stigma of mental illness in the workplace. She told Health that one of the best parts of signing the pledge was brining NAMI’s “In Our Own Voice” personal stories of recovery to the Commonwealth Medicine team.
"I had so many employees coming up, telling me it was really the most important training they had ever had," Murphy told Health. "Many employees disclosed that they or family members had really struggled with mental illness."
Murphy said coworkers and managers should support employees with mental illness by providing moral support, help with employee benefits and time off for treatment. Employers must also offer employee assistance programs.
Murphy assumed the senior-most executive role at Commonwealth Medicine in 2011, five years after joining UMass Medical School as Commonwealth Medicine’s vice chancellor and chief operating officer. Previously, she held the positions of president and chief executive officer of Carney Hospital in Dorchester; founding president of St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children; vice president of St. Margaret’s Hospital for Women; first deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue; and superintendent of Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham, the only women’s prison in Massachusetts.
She serves on numerous boards and commissions, including the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Advisory Council and Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s Advisory Committee on Wage Equality. She is vice chair of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Board of Directors. Murphy also sits on the boards of Curry College, UHealthSolutions and the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare.