About 46.6. million adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year. With mental health at the forefront of most conversations today, companies and organizations have been working together to provide solutions for those suffering from a variety of conditions. But one self-care app, Shine, is hoping to shed light on mental health in an underrepresented area – the office.

"Everyone is talking about self-care, but no one is talking about mental health at work," said Mariah Lidey, co-founder of Shine in an interview with CNN Business.

Stress in the workplace costs the American economy billions of dollars every year, but many employees don’t feel comfortable asking their bosses for a break to practice self-care. And before you think that cases of burnout and stress are limited to those who don’t quite like their job, one Yale University study found that one in five U.S. workers reported feeling both highly engaged at work and high levels of stress.

To raise awareness and spark more workplace conversations around mental health, Shine called for employers and employees to join a one-day “National Mental Health Break” campaign on May 15th at 3pm.  

"How can we create a moment where companies are encouraging conversations around mental health?" asked Lidey.

The campaign garnered support from over 60 companies including notable pledges from Lyft, Dropbox and Giphy. While some held group meditation and yoga sessions, others took the time to review their mental health day policies. And for the lucky few, employees were given extended breaks or partial time off. The overall support resulted in a trending related hashtag on social media and a fresh perspective on a crucial topic impacting many people around the globe.

Why This Matters – 

With burnout being recognized as a public health crisis, many companies are coming under scrutiny for not having policies or guidelines dedicated around how to address those needing time for self-care. In a survey of almost 2,000 Shine members, seven in 10 respondents stated that their company didn’t have a clear process for taking a mental health day. Not only that, 86 percent of workers have thought about taking a mental health day, but only 28 percent actually felt comfortable asking their employers for one.

As we continue to see tech and health merge together, we can expect startups like Shine to pave the way for innovative opportunities that tackle some of the most crucial issues we face today in healthcare.

About the Author:

Khye Tucker is an Innovation Strategist in Columbus, OH. With a passion for writing and a background in communications, Khye strives to bring brand stories to life through a fresh perspective, innovative thinking and creative storytelling.