Connectivity & Conversations

A Workplace Mental Health Course

Non-Fiction - Business/Finance
92 Pages
Reviewed on 10/24/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite

Pre-COVID employee burnout was at an all-time high as people juggled work, and family - but now a new sheriff is in town. The new sheriff, called the new normal, has greatly impacted and influenced how we move. Post-COVID has created yet another level of challenges that have hindered the fluidity in which we live. Now the new normal has intensified the burnout pendulum due to the economy, sheltering in place, and new family conditions including elderly caregiving and homeschooling which is too much for anyone to handle. Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist, educator, consultant, speaker, and author Mike Veny, who despite living with mental health challenges throughout his life, has a desire to help others who may be experiencing the same discover solutions. Out of his struggles Connectivity & Conversations: A Workplace Mental Health Course was born which is ideal for employers but can be beneficial for anyone. The author is not only transparent in his mental health journey but this book displays solid resources for employers and colleagues to identify mental illness not only within themselves but in others. Understanding the warning signs and providing immediate support are essential in a healthy pathway to healing.

I fully enjoyed Connectivity & Conversations because Mike has structured this book in bite-size pieces where HR, a CEO, President, or anyone in upper leadership can clearly understand what is required to support those within their company who are struggling with mental health challenges. For a deeper dive into clarity and its benefits, each chapter asks some tough questions to find the level of competency of the reader because mental illness should never be taken lightly and must be thoroughly understood. This book explodes with a wealth of information and offers everything that you'll need from suggested readings and myths and facts to information about hotlines, websites, and what to expect once you call. A benefit for the reader is that Mike's company is accredited with the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) which allows the reader the ability to obtain Continuing Education Units (CEU). Mike, I appreciate all that you're doing for the mental health community and am glad that you took the challenge to make a difference.

Edith Wairimu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly seventy-one percent (71%) of adults report having at least one symptom of stress. Unfortunately, only five percent (5%) of employees agree that their employers are doing enough for employees with mental health challenges. In Connectivity & Conversations, Mike Veny shares a strategic approach to creating a workplace environment that supports employees facing such challenges. He delves into the benefits of employee mental health wellness and how a manager or leader can detect symptoms to determine whether an employee is struggling with mental health challenges. The book also offers a methodical approach and important tips on having a discussion about mental health with employees. It contains a list of mental health websites and hotlines that anyone can use.

A conversation between an employee and their leader about mental health can be uncomfortable. I appreciated that Connectivity & Conversations explains the importance of such discussions and also provides a step-by-step, easy-to-follow process that any manager can utilize to initiate and hold such a conversation. To further explain the content, it includes examples relating to mental health and how each situation should be addressed. With many people in the workplace struggling with mental health challenges, the statistics quoted in the book help emphasize the importance of the topic. There are also quizzes, a self-assessment, and a workplace culture assessment that help internalize, recall, and put into action the book’s content. Connectivity & Conversations by Mike Veny contains practical information on building a culture that supports employees’ mental wellness.

Erin Nicole Cochran

Mike Veny has created an easily digestible course with Connectivity & Conversations: A Workplace Mental Health Course. The book can be read in a short amount of time, which for readers is always a positive since everybody these days lives with a number of time constraints. Every page has pieces of information that stick in the reader’s mind. There are no moments of fluff within the pages of Connectivity & Conversations, only gems of valuable knowledge to retain and use.

What Mike Veny is doing with this work is teaching businesses owners to see their employees not as a number on a page, or as a cog in an ever-moving wheel, but as the human beings that they are. Human beings come with one brain and one heart. And every one of those organs will never operate the same as another’s. We have not been turned into a fully automated AI working world yet, and I hope that I don’t see that in my lifetime. I wanted to read this book because I myself have experienced working environments that weren’t invested in my mental soundness. Had I experienced the working atmosphere that he’s helping other companies to incorporate into their specific business settings, I would have been able to stay in those jobs longer than I did. Mike Veny’s Connectivity & Conversations is a course that is not just the wave of the future but is the wave of the present, and you will find solace in knowing that the future and present are looking to help employees find their balance and comfort.

Kimberlee J Benart

As a retired federal manager in an organization with civilian and military personnel, I’ve seen the impact of mental health challenges on employees. In Connectivity & Conversations: A Workplace Mental Health Course, certified corporate wellness specialist Mike Veny provides valuable training in mental health awareness for leaders and supervisors to understand why cultivating healthy workplaces should be a priority. After addressing the impact of mental health on performance and productivity, the course moves into topics such as how to recognize when employees are struggling, how to have conversations about mental health, regulations affecting the workplace, and resources that are available to help. Four appendices provide specific details about hotlines and websites, myths vs. facts, and suggested further reading.

Connectivity & Conversations: A Workplace Mental Health Course by Mike Veny is a well-organized presentation on a very important topic. One of the subjects I most appreciated was the material on mental health myths vs. facts since our employees can sometimes be the victims of unfair and inaccurate stereotypes that could affect how their supervisors see their potential for progression and job growth in the company. But the aspect of the training material that I found most useful is helping us see some of the signs of a mental health struggle in an employee and then how to better navigate the boundary between what we can discuss with the employee and what we should avoid. Many times a supervisor wants to help but is uncertain as to how to proceed. A professional, practical, and impactful presentation.

Daniel D Staats

Mike Veny believes in workplace mental health. In Connectivity & Conversations, he shows the tremendous value of employers who focus on their employees’ mental health. Since companies with thriving mental health cultures grow at a rate of double or triple times other companies, a company that wants to grow needs to develop a healthy mental health culture. To put it simply, mentally healthy people work at maximum level and achieve much more than those who cannot cope well with the stresses of life. Mike wants to help workplaces become conduits of mental health for the benefit of their employees with the added side-effect that the company’s bottom line will improve. In addition, these open conversations can help destroy the myriad of myths surrounding mental health issues. Mike explains the need for mental health initiatives in the workplace. He also shows how to implement these initiatives to lead to success for both the employee and employer.

Mike Veny shows in Connectivity & Conversations that when employees feel connected and valued, they are more productive. They also stay with the company longer. Mike is writing with a double goal in mind. The primary purpose of the book is for the benefit of employees. The side effect is an improved bottom line for the company. Mike points out that the employee’s benefit should be the motivating factor, but many companies are more motivated by bottom-line considerations. This book gives a step-by-step method of developing a caring institution. Mike provides information on how to make employees feel part of the team and how to develop a caring place of employment. The appendices alone are well worth the cost of this book as the resources and suggestions listed there are worth their weight in gold. Get a copy of Connectivity & Conversations and connect to your employees.