Raleigh-based Red Hat creates employee program supporting mental health

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A program promoting mental health with Red Hat employees at the corporate headquarters in Raleigh is now being used by more than a thousand of its employees internationally.

The software company started a neurodiversity committee under a diversity and inclusion initiative. The committee organizes panel discussions, runs group chats, and offers support and guidance for employees dealing with mental health issues.

"The more people you have in the conversation the more comfortable people feel being their full selves at work," explained Robert McSwain, a Red Hat employee and member of the neurodiversity committee.

The committee's goal is to help employees to feel safe and empowered to bring their authentic selves to work and to have a better understanding of others.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI, 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness which greatly affects the workforce.

"The fact that the CDC officially classified workplace burnout as an actual phenomenon -- it's in the classic revision of diseases -- it's a real thing," explained Red Hat employee Scoots Hamilton. "And employers have to recognize that it's a condition that's affecting people. People are in the workplace dealing with things outside the workplace and if we're not making it OK for people to come and be supportive here, they're not going to be producing the type of work they need to."

NAMI Wake helped Red Hat Raleigh expand their neurodiversity program to reach employees globally.
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