I was a high performer in the workplace.

I met and exceeded goals, was a leader and a trailblazer, and the one who mentored my team.  Outwardly, I appeared successful and like I had everything together.

Inwardly, I was carrying an immense amount of shame because I was living in silence with undisclosed depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

In April 2016, my leader noticed subtle signs I was displaying in the workplace that caused concern.

She took it upon herself to take action and flew from NJ to Boston to spend the day with me.

She asked me to be honest about how I was feeling and what was really going on “behind my mask of high performance.”

I shared everything with her that day. 

The intense suicidal thoughts, crippling depression, and anxiety.  The one thing I was too afraid to share with her was that I was 7 years sober from alcohol and what I was experiencing was part of my recovery.

She looked me in the eyes and said, “Kim – how have you been functioning at such high levels while dealing with so many mental health issues?”

She was stunned that the ‘Star’ on the team was also the one who needed a lot of help.

We talked.  We cried.  We hugged.  We laughed. 

My leader held a ‘safe space’ for me that day.  She created a container of safety in that conversation that allowed me to feel comfortable opening up.

At the end of the conversation, she told me to take some time off.  I had been overdelivering on goals and she wanted to recognize that.  She gave me permission to take time for me.

Memorial Day weekend was coming up and I had been yearning to go away on a retreat to find peace and solace.  I googled “retreat, memorial day weekend 2016” and found the work of Byron Katie.

I drove 5.5 hours to upstate NY and experienced a weekend retreat that changed my life. 

When I arrived at the retreat, my fire and my internal light were completely nonexistent.  I felt hopeless, unworthy, unloved, and like an imposter.

By the end of the weekend, I had found my light and started to heal.  I am so grateful.

What is most important is that my leader saw the signs and took action.

Her ability to see the subtle signs that I was not well is to be commended.  I was a chameleon in the workplace and was a master at hiding my pain and my truth. 

Because of her, I was able to speak openly without fear.

That was liberating for me!

At 12 years sober, I have learned that my story is not unique. Many people live behind a mask in the workplace because of fear, shame, and stigma.

What is unique is that I am willing to be vulnerable and share my lived experience to illustrate that we are not alone.

Addressing mental health in the workplace is critical. One in five individuals will experience a mental health episode in their lifetime. The rates of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental illnesses is skyrocketing due to COVID.

Leaders are searching for tools to help normalize and support the conversation about mental health.

I recognized this need, felt a calling, and made a drastic change.

On 4/1/2020, I stepped away from my role as Director of Partnerships (in the middle of a pandemic), and started Kim LaMontagne, LLC.

I recognized a pattern across the corporate world regarding mental health in the workplace. I took it upon myself to create a training solution that would be easy to implement, user friendly for busy corporate leaders, while providing the very tools I needed when I was suffering in silence.

I created “The 4 Pillars of Creating and Sustaining a Mentally Healthy Workplace Culture.” This training is changing the dialog about mental health in the workplace by teaching leaders how to build a culture in the workplace that encourages open dialog about mental health.

The full day training is currently available live via the zoom platform and on-demand to provide instant scalable access to this critical content.

LEARN MORE HERE

Ready to have a conversation about creating a culture of safety in your organization?

Now is the time to address mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Lives depend on it.

Help me, help you, help others.

The most powerful organizations empower employees to speak openly about mental health without fear of judgement, retribution, or job loss.

Kim LaMontagne, MBA, International Speaker, Trainer, and Author.