IT giant Cisco is taking a more active role in providing support to mental health employees, given the recent suicide of a large-profile personality.
In an email throughout the company, the CEO of Cisco Chuck Robbins introduced employees on the importance of coping with mental health issues after the suicides of well-known individuals Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Robbins, who attended the Cisco Live Conference in Orlando, felt forced to solve the problem.
"In light of recent tragedies, I wanted to give up Cisco Live for a moment to discuss the importance of mental health," Robins wrote.
"Unfortunately, we all know friends, family and associates who are fighting the state of mental health, or you may go through your struggles."
The head of Cisco urged employees to "talk openly and extend compassion" to each other and to "have one another's back". He reminded them that professional support is available if they need it.
Robbins' e-mail received more than 100 replies within a few days. Some workers even shared their own mental health issues.
In a CNBC interview, Robbins said he did not understand the magnitude of the problem, but the scope of the responses received from his employees helped the company become more active in solving it.
Cisco now provides employees with benefits such as anxiety and depression, counseling for workers and their families, meditation and yoga classes, as well as on-site treatment and health centers. The company also offers extraordinary paid freedom, separated from work.
Robbins said he was forced to act when the perpetrator opened him to a member of the family who dealt with mental illness and was potentially suicidal.
"I wanted to help, and in this process, it became clear to me that this is a terrible situation and I really felt the desperation that people felt," said the executive director.
According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, close to one in five adults suffer from mental health issues. The US spends more than US $ 200 billion a year on the treatment of diseases such as anxiety, stress and depression.