TIE Blog Content Centered on Mental Health

A collection of previously published Toward inclusive Excellence content that addresses the topics of mental health, wellness and burnout.

Representing mental health struggles, a sad man and a sad woman sit beneath a rain cloud

To address the increased interest in our DEI content related to mental health and well-being, the Toward Inclusive Excellence (TIE) team has collected some of our previously published content that addresses the topics of mental health, wellness and burnout.


“Inclusive Workplace Practices to Support Mental Health in Higher Education“

May 18, 2023

How can higher education stakeholders foster and sustain inclusive workplace practices that consider managers’ and employees’ mental health?

Mental health, DEI, and belonging are invariably linked yet rarely discussed collectively in higher education. Several institutions elevated the need for student-centered mental health support during the COVID-19 global pandemic crisis, persistent exposure to racial trauma, and violence against the LGBTQ+ community. Yet, stigmas and stereotypes about mental health persist to such a degree that many employees and managers often hesitate to seek resources and support for themselves

[Access the webinar recording]

Blog Posts

“Managers’ Mental Health Matters”

February 3, 2022

More Research is Needed to Address Stress and Burnout

This moment in history is the most difficult time to serve as a leader and manager in more than a century. The stress of leading now is extraordinary due to all of the complications stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, few mental health support mechanisms are in place to help leaders learn how to rest, refresh, and renew.

[Read more here]

“Understanding High-Functioning Depression among Managers”

February 10, 2022

Much of the traditional managerial advice one receives, and operates in accordance with, is not sufficiently colocated in the realities of being human. As a result, telling managers to not “wear stress on one’s face,” to “always speak ascendingly,” and (the classic) to refer to difficulties as “challenges” can lead to the unhealthy suppression of emotions. As my former therapist shared with me, this suppression is a root cause of depression for leaders. In fact, this practice of suppression and projection among managers may be a persistent yet rarely discussed manifestation of high-functioning depression.

[Read more here]

“Take Your Foot Off the Gas”

June 9, 2022

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us in higher education looked forward to the end of the academic year. We were accustomed to September to December, then mid-January to late May as high-impact working periods. Many people in higher education routinely worked 12- to 14-hours days, no less than six days a week during the academic year. We viewed our responsibility to students and our respective institutions as extending beyond our classrooms and offices. This responsibility meant attending student events, sporting events, and social gatherings, as well as hosting lectures and symposia. For those of us who are BIPOC, extra hours are dedicated to the often invisible emotional labor (paywalled) of supporting each other and marginalized students as we routinely encounter “-isms” and bias within the academy.

[Read more here]

“Is Being Racist a Mental Illness?”

October 6, 2022

My family taught me to generally classify all racist people as being “crazy.” This broad grouping was a survival mechanism and a form of sensemaking. If someone perpetuates an act of racism against you, they are “crazy” and so you must go into “survival mode” to protect yourself, whether pursuing workplace justice or facing down aggressors.

Yet, the normalization of racism means living continuously in survival mode, which is exceptionally exhausting. There are times I become outraged. Regrettably, when one is raised as a BIPOC, being a victim of racism is the norm. It comes with the skin we live in, often resulting in grave health outcomes.

[Read more here]

“‘Queen Charlotte’ Illuminates Mental Health and Racial Marginalization”

October 6, 2022

The focus on whether Queen Charlotte is Black or not has in some ways supplanted another point of interest regarding the Queen Charlotte series on social media—what I believe is the first humane portrayal of King George III’s mental health struggles. Past depictions of King George III lacked sympathy for his difficulties, even though modern medical scholars believe he suffered from bipolar disorder (paywalled).

Rhimes and/or some of her writers crafted a new portrayal of King George through the lens of someone with the lived experience of loving a family member with severe mental health complications. Without spoiling too much of the show for those interested in viewing it, there are subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which King George’s illness presents itself. Throughout, the Queen Charlotte character exercises love and patience toward the King, which I found touching.

[Read more here]

Access the Toward Inclusive Excellence resource list “Understanding Mental Health“, a list of educative and illuminating sources of particular importance to contemporary society. Curated by academics and field experts, these collections are designed to help further your learning.

Read more Toward Inclusive Excellence blog posts!

Interested in contributing to TIE? Send an email to Deb V. at Choice dvillavicencio@ala-choice.org with your topic idea.

Header image is a detail of This is Harlem by Jacob Lawrence. Courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. © 2021 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. For more information, click here.