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    Tips To Prioritize Your Mental Health, For Executives

    Tips To Prioritize Your Mental Health, For Executives

    study showed that 49% of CEOs report struggling with a mental health condition and the majority of CEOs say that they are feeling overworked, struggling with fatigue, and suffering from continual stress.

    The increased responsibilities and demands inherent in executives’ roles can lead to burnout, stress, social isolation, sleep disturbance, impulsive decision-making, emotional exhaustion, and abusive supervision of employees. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are also a possibility.

    In addition, CEOs can feel as though they must show resilience, strength, and always be in control, and make it seem like they don’t need help. But many executives do need help. What can C-Suite executives, and those who love them, do to prioritize mental health and show that self-care is a priority?

    Psychotherapist Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, is nationally recognized for her expertise in helping people who struggle with their mental health and who have suicidal thoughts. She is the author of the new book, Loving Someone with Suicidal Thoughts: What Family, Friends, and Partners Can Say and do. (New Harbinger Publications; published Jan. 2, 2023 – named one of Mashable’s best mental health books for 2022!)

    She has tips on how executives can prioritize their mental health and be an example for others in their organization.

    Tips for executives to prioritize their mental health:

    1. If you’re an executive experiencing stress, depression, suicidal thoughts, or other mental health challenges, take good care of yourself. Defy the stigma around mental health challenges. Get professional help if you need it.
    2. If you’re not experiencing problems now, it you still might benefit from getting prophylactically – having someone to talk with, to listen, to help problem-solve, etc., can help head off problems down the road. Coaches can be helpful in these circumstances, too; they’re not mental health professionals, but they can be a part of everyone’s self-care. There are therapists and coaches who specialize in helping executives.
    3. Good self-care practices can include mindfulness exercises, physical exercise, good sleeping habits, and social connections with others.

    Dr. Freedenthal is an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, psychotherapist, and consultant. Her private practice focuses on helping people who have experienced suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, or lost someone they love to suicide.

    Dr. Freedenthal earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Texas. During these years, she started out volunteering as a suicide hotline counselor in Dallas, and worked in crisis settings in Austin, including a psychiatric emergency service, rape crisis center, and hospital emergency room. She earned her Ph.D. in social work at Washington University in St. Louis and subsequently joined the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work faculty in 2005.

    Dr. Freedenthal is intimately familiar with the realities of suicide. She first experienced suicidal thoughts in seventh grade. In high school, a friend killed himself just a couple of hours after the two hugged goodbye at a party. In her twenties, Dr. Freedenthal attempted suicide twice; she recounts one of these attempts in a piece she wrote for The New York Times, “A Suicide Therapist’s Secret Past.” She continues to be very open about her own mental health struggles in hopes of helping those around her who have also struggled.

    Dr. Freedenthal lives in Englewood, CO, with her husband, Pete. They have an adult son, now in his twenties, and more than a few cats.

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