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Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health

The Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health

Mental Health at Work Matters

Employees want workplaces that are stable, supportive, and less stressful. Employers want employees who are engaged, productive, and loyal. By implementing policies and practices that support employee well-being, employers can achieve the distinct but complementary goals of both employees and the organization.

In recent years, many employers have implemented “workplace wellness” initiatives in an attempt to attract and retain employees, increase engagement, and reduce health care costs. However, while these initiatives can contribute to wellness, they are only part of a larger set of factors that lead to loyal and engaged employees.

An employer who strives to improve workplace culture, offers generous health insurance and other benefits, and commits to mental health from the top-down can make a considerable impact on the financial, emotional, and social health of its organization. When an employer invests in mental health, it is simply better for employees and better for business.


The Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health

MHA is proud to introduce the Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health, a certification program that recognizes employers who are committed to creating mentally healthy workplaces.

With 40 years’ experience in workplace mental health, MHA developed a set of standards to assess an employer’s policies and practices that support employee mental health and well-being. The Bell Seal considers both the 1 in 5 employees who will experience a mental health condition each year and the 5 in 5 employees who benefit from a worker-friendly, highly productive, and psychologically safe workplace.

An organization with Bell Seal certification will be recognized nationwide as a workplace that values mental health and a mentally healthy work environment for all employees. Through the certification process, employers will have the opportunity to discuss the relationship between mental health and the following goals:

  • Attract potential employees and increase retention;
  • Improve employee engagement and productivity;
  • Reduce health care costs and lost revenue due to poor workplace mental health;
  • Address concerns with presenteeism and absenteeism;
  • Reduce the rate of employee turnover; and
  • Identify gaps and learn about resources to support employee mental health.

Because all workplaces are different, an employer can aspire to receive recognition at four levels – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

An employer will be assessed—and recognition ultimately determined by—the following five categories:

  1. Workplace Culture
  2. Health Insurance & Benefits
  3. Employee Perks & Programs
  4. Legal & Ethical Compliance
  5. Leadership & Community Engagement

Application Process

The certification process involves a comprehensive assessment of an employer’s existing policies and practices that impact employee mental health and well-being. 

To begin the application process, complete the following steps:

  1. Submit an employer information form.
  2. MHA will then contact you to provide more information and access to the Bell Seal Manual and full online application form.
  3. Review and prepare the application items requested in the Bell Seal Manual.
  4. Submit the completed application via link provided by MHA point of contact.
  5. Mail the application fees by check at time of submission.
  6. Receive and discuss results with MHA point of contact.

Please see the FAQ below for more information about the certification and application process.

 

Apply to qualify your workplace for Bell Seal certification by completing the Employer Information Form.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

What organizations/companies can apply for Bell Seal certification?

Organizations and companies across size and industry are welcome and encouraged to apply. However, because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health in the workplace, MHA plans to launch variations of the certification in the future to focus on specific groups and industries.

How do I begin the application process?

To begin the application process, complete the following steps:

  1. Submit an employer information form.
  2. MHA will then contact you to provide more information and access to the Bell Seal Manual and full online application form.
  3. Review and prepare the application items requested in the Bell Seal Manual.
  4. Submit the completed application via link provided by MHA point of contact.
  5. Mail the application fees by check at time of submission.
  6. Receive and discuss results with MHA point of contact.

How long does it take to complete the application?

The application itself should take no more than 15 minutes to complete online. The majority of the process involves collecting items requested from the Bell Seal Manual for submission. Therefore, please anticipate the application process to take between 30 to 35 business days to complete from start to finish. The amount of time will vary depending on the resources an organization can allocate to the application process.

When is the application deadline for 2020 certification?

There is no deadline for 2020 certification, but to be certified for the full 2020 calendar year, we recommend that you submit your application by 5 PM ET on December 18, 2019, to allow adequate time for review. You may still submit your application after this time.

What is the length of certification?

The length of Bell Seal certification is one calendar year. Organizations who apply in November or December 2019 will automatically be considered for 2020 certification.

How should I format the application materials for submission?

Before you begin the online application, please compile all items that best demonstrates the criteria requested in the Bell Seal Manual into one compressed folder (.zip). The folder should be labeled with the name of your organization and date of submission. Inside the folder, please include five subfolders labeled appropriately for each of the five categories of the certification. Please see how the folder should be formatted below:

            

Evidence of criteria can be any form of documentation including, but not limited to, formal policies, company-wide emails, memos, briefs, newsletters, or meeting agenda or minutes. If you are unsure that an item meets the criteria, please continue to submit the item for review. In some cases, points may still be awarded even if all aspects of criteria have not been met.

Acceptable file formats include Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), and compressed files (.zip) for multiple documents. Please submit only the information that pertains to the question. For example, if a specific policy is requested, only submit the policy text and not the entire handbook that contains the policy. The maximum size of the compressed file that will be accepted is 75 MB.

Will the application materials I submit be kept confidential?

All items or responses submitted with this application will be kept confidential and secure on MHA’s servers, and be used only for the purposes of this application.

How is the application scored?

Your organization’s score, and ultimately, level of certification, is determined by the policies, practices, and programs you submit with your application. The level of certification—Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum—is based on a weighted overall score. In the Bell Seal Manual, you will find the point value for each application item and weighting guidelines. Not all workplaces will meet the standards for Bell Seal certification.

When can I expect to see my organization’s results after submitting the application?

After submitting the completed application, please allow 20 to 25 business days to receive the results for your workplace evaluation, including which level of recognition (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) the organization qualifies and how the organization scored in each of the five categories.

What fees are associated with applying for certification?

The application fee is determined by the organization’s number of FTEs at the time of application submission. Please complete the employer information form to inquire about the application fees for your organization or company.

As a non-profit organization, all revenue generated by the Bell Seal program is returned to MHA programming and Bell Seal program-related expenses, including staff time to review application materials and help applicants throughout the process.

How do I renew my certification?

A notification about renewal will be emailed to the applicant on behalf of the certified organization before the fourth quarter of the calendar year. During the renewal process, the applicant will review items submitted in prior year for changes, submit new items for review, and pay an application renewal fee.

How will MHA publicize/promote organizations who receive Bell Seal certification?

All Bell Seal-certified organizations, at their discretion, will have their logo included on MHA's website landing page for the Bell Seal and be showcased on MHA’s social media platforms. Certified organizations will also receive a promotional toolkit that provides language and materials to promote the Bell Seal among their networks.

Why is the certification called the Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health?

The Bell Seal is modeled after the MHA Bell of Hope, a symbol of mental health since 1953. Cast from the chains of individuals once locked in state hospitals, the MHA bell resonates deeply with those who care about and support mental health.

Questions?
MHA will be available to provide assistance throughout the application process. If you have any questions about the Bell Seal or how to apply, please contact Taylor Adams, MHA’s Manager of Workplace Mental Health at workplace@mhanational.org.

 

This program is supported through philanthropic contributions from The Faas Foundation.