Wilson R. – Champion in Kellogg North America Region
This year's KNA ED&I Champion is on a mission to destigmatize mental health. Wilson R., Retail Operations Senior Director, has been working alongside other leaders and members of the Kapable BERG to spark conversation around this important topic and meaningfully expand access to mental health services within Kellogg.
He also has a deeply personal connection to the topic of mental health. He says he has family members that have struggled with depression and anxiety, he lost a nephew to suicide and his daughter was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. At the start of the pandemic, he also lost his mother during widespread quarantine lockdowns.
"I needed help and a lot of people don't want to talk about that," he said. "A lot of people need help though. If I have a problem with my heart I can go to the doctor, but no one wants to talk about needing to get help for the most complicated organ in your body, your brain."
He sees mental health awareness and care as directly linked to not only Kellogg's ED&I strategy, but also overall employee engagement.
"You come to work every day and bear that burden. So we have to acknowledge what we are going through so people can bring their whole selves to work," he said.
The KNA branch of Kapable, which Wilson co-chairs, has been working to expand mental health awareness and outreach in multiple ways. Throughout 2021, the team held mental health activations like "Movember Mondays," where Kellogg employees and leaders shared their personal experiences with mental health.
In early 2022, they also launched a mental health first-aid training program called Lean On Me. The program, which reached 90 people in its first phase, trains participants to spot signs of mental health or substance abuse challenges in their colleagues and teaches them how to respond. Kapable also partnered with the Employee Assistance Program to onboard a new mental health care provider with expanded care options for eligible employees.
Kapable plans to expand the Lean On Me program to train another 100 employees, as well as continue its mental health awareness activations around Movember, World Mental Health Day and other events.
"We’re trying to bring the discussion of mental health out of the dark because it’s something we all face and I’m really passionate about that,” he said.