Promoting Mental Health Through Interactive Learning

Instructional Design - eLearning - Health and Safety

Category: Corporate

Addressing Sensitive Issues

The stigma of mental illness can prevent employees from seeking the help they need. That’s why science and engineering giant DuPont created the ICU Mental Health program. ICU stands for Identifying, Connecting and Understanding co-workers. The program’s goal is improving employee understanding of mental health issues and promoting the overall emotional health of the organization. In competitive business environments, employees may be reluctant to bring up personal issues or concerns about co-workers with supervisors. So the ICU program encourages fellow workers to first recognize a colleague in distress. Then, offer support on an informal, peer-to-peer level. This has to be done with knowledge, sensitivity and discretion.

Multimedia Support Tools

JPL started by creating a simple animated presentation that motivated employees to participate in the ICU Mental Health program. Next, a brief facilitator guide was created to help trainers impart knowledge and techniques to co-workers. Finally, an elearning course was developed to help employees understand and recognize emotional distress, reducing the risk that those suffering from a mental health issue will go unnoticed and feel alone and helpless. Workplace signage also gave a simple daily reminder to be diligent and alert to peer problems.

Simple and Universal

Because the ICU Mental Health initiative is global and must cross many cultures, JPL chose to tell the story with simple imagery and as few words as possible. Illustrated characters represent DuPont employees in common workplace settings and situations. Limited onscreen text and narration can be easily translated. Instructions are easy to remember and follow for all employees.

Award Winning Results

The approach provided a flexible solution to reach diverse audiences, allowing DuPont to maximize distribution around the world. This year, the ICU Mental Health campaign will provide a unique learning experience to more than 70,000 DuPont employees in 90 different countries. In addition, DuPont will share the project with peers and colleagues in other organizations, emphasizing that the ultimate goal is to use the training materials as an example of best practices in the field. The program received powerful validation in November, 2012, when the National Alliance on Mental Illness honored DuPont for its commitment to advancing mental health with the prestigious Seeds of Hope award.