LaMontagne Earns Recovery Friendly Workplace Designation from New Hampshire Governor

PRESS RELEASE

Workplace mental health training program teaches leaders how to create a culture of safety

Contact: Shauna Cutcliffe Email: [email protected]

DERRY, N.H.

(July 22, 2021) – The Kim LaMontagne, LLC team has earned the Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) designation from the New Hampshire Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative. The RFW initiative was founded in 2018 by Governor Chris Sununu to encourage an environment where employers, employees, and communities can collaborate to create positive change and eliminate barriers for those impacted by substance use. To address the impacts of Covid-19, and the undeniable relationship between substance use disorder, mental health challenges, and trauma, RFW has leveraged strong community partnerships to offer an impressive array of no-cost services, training, and support to workplaces. LaMontagne’s focus on creating a ‘culture of safety’ where everyone feels safe to speak openly about mental health, substance use disorder (SUD), and recovery, without fear of judgment, retribution, or job loss is in perfect alignment with the RFW mission.
            Karen Morton-Clark, a recovery friendly advisor for the RFW initiative says, “the collaboration between Kim and the RFW initiative supports building resilient communities that are educated, responsive, and conscious of the impact of both SUD and mental illness in support of New Hampshire’s Ten Year Mental Health plan. We are excited to have Kim and her team become one of our 285 Recovery Friendly Workplaces who represent a diverse array of sectors, including manufacturing, hospitality, construction, and non-profits, such as Granite United Way and the Dover Mental Health Alliance, as well as all Regional Public Health Networks and Recovery Community Organizations. We look forward to exploring opportunities jointly with Kim and these partners to provide greater understanding and compassionate support to those who have been impacted by substance use disorder and mental health challenges in the communities we serve.”
            “It is an honor to work with Governor Sununu’s Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative.  As a newly designated RFW, I am committed to creating and sustaining a ‘safe workplace culture’ that fosters open dialog about substance use disorder, mental health and recovery without fear of judgment, retribution, or job loss.”  As a partner with RFW, I have committed to providing solutions to help business leaders shift the culture of mental health in the workplace and create safe spaces where employees can step forward, without fear, and ask for help.  Lives depend on it,” LaMontagne said.
            Kim LaMontagne, LLC is committed to creating and sustaining a mentally healthy and safe workplace culture through its participation in the RFW initiative.  A mentally healthy workplace culture is one where everyone feels safe speaking openly about mental health and substance misuse without fear of judgment, retribution, or job loss.  There is an urgent need to address mental health in the workplace and create a culture within organizations that empowers employees to step forward to say, “I’m not ok and I need help.”
            Lamontagne, an expert and advocate for mental health in the workplace designed a corporate training program called the “4 Pillars of Creating and Sustaining a Mentally Healthy Workplace Culture.” The curriculum is available in three formats: live/onsite, virtually and on demand. The main goal of the 4 Pillars is to teach leaders not to be afraid of mental illness. It teaches how to create a culture of safety in the workplace where everyone feels safe to speak openly about mental health without fear of judgment, retribution, or job loss. LaMontagne is offering a reduction in cost on The 4 Pillars training to all New Hampshire RFWs.
            It’s estimated that there are around 135,000 individuals in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) in the state of New Hampshire, with 75 percent of that community making up a portion of the state’s workforce. Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) is an initiative founded by Governor Chris Sununu to empower workplaces to provide support for employees in recovery from substance use disorder, in collaboration with New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA). More information on SUD-related information and resources in New Hampshire, is available by calling New Hampshire’s 2-1-1, visiting thedoorway.nh.gov, or learn more about peer recovery services at nhrecoveryhub.org. Learn more about Kim LaMontagne at kimlamontagne.net and RFW at recoveryfriendlyworkplace.com. 

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About Kim LaMontagne

Kim LaMontagne, MBA, is an international speaker, trainer and mental health in the workplace expert and advocate. She is a teacher and state trainer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a member of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Campaign to Combat Behavioral Health Stigma and Discrimination and a regular contributor on the topic of mental health for Show Me Your Stethoscope, a Facebook group of 640,000 nurses and healthcare professionals. She is also the author of “It’s Ok to Not Be Ok,” and a contributing author of “The Strength of our Anchors.” Learn more at kimlamontagne.net.

About Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW)

RFW was established by Governor Sununu in 2018 to encourage an environment where employers, employees, and communities can collaborate to create positive change and eliminate barriers for those impacted by substance use. A strong example of the public and private sectors coming together, key partners include the Governor’s Office, the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, the Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA), Granite United Way, NH Works for Recovery, the Community Health Institute (CHI), as well as numerous other business partners, non-profit organizations, Regional Public Health Networks, and Recovery Community Organizations.

 

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Badass Business Babe

Mental health has no boundaries.  No one is immune.  Listen in as I share my story of being a high-performing corporate executive who lived in silence in the workplace with undisclosed mental illness and alcohol misuse.  Learn how I used my experience to teach leaders how to normalize the conversation about mental health in the workplace and empower others to step forward and say, “I’m not ok and I need help.”

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

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Workplace mental health training program teaches leaders how to create a culture of safety

PRESS RELEASE

Workplace mental health training program teaches leaders how to create a culture of safety

Contact: Shauna Cutcliffe Email: [email protected]

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 9, 2021) – Kim LaMontagne, an expert and advocate for mental health in the workplace has launched a new corporate training program called the “4 Pillars of Creating and Sustaining a Mentally Healthy Workplace Culture.” The curriculum is available in three formats: live/onsite, virtually and on demand. The main goal of the 4 Pillars is to teach leaders not to be afraid of mental illness. It teaches how to create a culture of safety in the workplace where everyone feels safe to speak openly about mental health without fear of judgment, retribution, or job loss.

LaMontagne explains, “it’s not just about human life. It’s also about a company’s bottom line. Employees who are suffering in silence with mental illness are producing at less than stellar levels. The healthier our employees are, the healthier our organization is.”

LaMontagne was a top sales producer in her company who suffered quietly for seven years with depression, anxiety and intense suicidal thoughts until one day her boss, noticing something wasn’t right, pulled her aside and asked her to be honest about how she was feeling. “She created a safe space and gave me permission to speak openly,” says LaMontagne. “Once I spoke my truth I started to heal.” Now, LaMontagne is teaching leaders to do what hers did, to see the signs and take action.


Upon completion of this training, leaders will have a better understanding of what it is like to live with mental illness, stigma in the workplace, the power of peer support, the power of using person centered language and the role of leadership when creating a mentally healthy workplace culture.


The live training is available as one full day or two half days. In addition, the virtual format allows for 1.5 hours per week over 4 weeks and the on-demand option is self-paced. All formats include a pre and post assessment, attendee workbooks, certificate of completion and downloadable resources. A complimentary training consultation can be scheduled at kimlamontagne.net or by email at [email protected].

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About Kim LaMontagne

Kim LaMontagne, MBA, is an international speaker, trainer and mental health in the workplace expert and advocate. She is a teacher and state trainer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a member of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Campaign to Combat Behavioral Health Stigma and Discrimination and a regular contributor on the topic of mental health for Show Me Your Stethoscope, a Facebook group of 640,000 nurses and healthcare professionals. She is also the author of “It’s Ok to Not Be Ok,” and a contributing author of “The Strength of our Anchors.” Learn more at kimlamontagne.net.

 

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PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2021

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May, 2021

Contact: Shauna Cutcliffe Email: [email protected]

About KimNew Hampshire native, Kim LaMontagne suffered in silence for years with mental illness in her workplace. Now she’s created a training program to teach leaders how to recognize, destigmatize and reach out to employees.
 

SARASOTA, Florida – Rock bottom for Kim LaMontagne was when she passed out after celebrating the win of the ‘Directors Choice’ award at a corporate sales summit, and then slept through the hotel fire alarm. It only got worse from there.

“My life actually got worse when I got sober,” says LaMontagne, creator of The 4 Pillars of Creating and Sustaining a Mentally Healthy Workplace Culture. “It’s like having an open wound that no longer has a band aid. That band aid was alcohol. Without it, I went into a deep, dark depression because even though I was getting healthy, I was afraid to talk about it – especially at work.”

On the outside she was a high-performing employee, number one, two, or three on the sales leaderboard. On the inside “I felt inadequate, like an imposter, ashamed because I couldn’t control my drinking,” she says, and I didn’t tell anyone at work for fear of being judged or getting fired. “So I stayed silent, which was toxic, and almost killed me.”

LaMontagne suffered quietly for seven years with depression, anxiety and intense suicidal thoughts until one day her boss, noticing something wasn’t right, pulled her aside and asked her to be honest about how she was feeling. “She created a safe space and gave me permission to speak openly,” says LaMontagne. “Once I spoke my truth I started to heal.”

Now LaMontagne is teaching leaders to do what hers did, “to see the signs and take action,” via her corporate training, The 4 Pillars of Creating and Sustaining a Mentally Healthy Workplace Culture, which is available in three formats: live/onsite, virtually and on demand.

It’s not about learning to be counselors, she says, it’s about starting a conversation. It’s saying ‘I may not fully understand what you’re going through but I am your leader and I’ve been trained, and we have the resources to help.’

The main goal of the 4 Pillars is to teach leaders not to be afraid of mental illness. “It’s the same as physical illness. It’s just heavily stigmatized. But we can change that,” says LaMontagne.

“It’s not just about human life. It’s also about a company’s bottom line. Employees who are suffering in silence with mental illness are producing at less than stellar levels. The healthier our employees are – the healthier our organization is.”

This past year has put an unprecedented strain on everyone’s mental health. At the same time the silver lining is “the pandemic has brought mental illness to the forefront enabling people to share their struggles, speak openly, and support one another,” says LaMontagne.

Employees are returning to the office, and a new mental-health savvy generation is entering the workforce. They not only want mental health resources and open conversations, they expect them. CEOS, directors and leaders need to be ready to welcome them with open arms – and minds. Mental health advocate, and former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, John Broderick agrees, and says, “Kim LaMontagne’s 4 Pillars program needs to be in every workplace around the globe.”

About: Kim LaMontagne (http://www.kimlamontagne.net), MBA, is an international speaker, trainer and mental health in the workplace expert and advocate. She is a teacher and state trainer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a member of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Campaign to Combat Behavioral Health Stigma and Discrimination and a regular contributor on the topic of mental health for Show Me Your Stethoscope (a Facebook group of 650,000 nurses and healthcare professionals). She is also the author of It’s Ok to Not Be Ok, and a contributing author of The Strength of our Anchors.

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Our Children Are Speaking; Are We Listening?

May is Mental Health Awareness month. It is an honor to have my friend and fellow mental health crusader, John Broderick as a guest blogger. John is the former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court and Senior Director of Public Affairs at Dartmouth Hitchcock.
 
He shares his personal story to raise awareness that mental illness can affect any family. His story is powerful!
 
John also developed “The 5 signs of mental illness campaign.”
 
He said, “mental illness is the only illness from my childhood that remains in the shadows. We need to change the culture surrounding emotional suffering and we need to begin by letting everyone know its five most common signs and that early detection and treatment yield great success.”
 
He is a beacon of hope and spreads the message that you are not alone, it’s ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to ask for help.
 
John and I have joined forces to deliver quarterly “Virtual Nursing Grand Rounds” at Dartmouth Hitchcock called, “Changing the Culture Around Mental Health.” The evaluations speak volumes and illustrate that we are making a difference by changing the conversation about mental health.
 
I invite you to read his article below.
 

GUEST BLOG
by John Broderick

We need to realize that treatment is possible and that the pain and loneliness can be lifted. When I was young, and for most of my adult life, nobody spoke about mental illness. I was so ignorant about it that I didn’t see its onset or progression in one of my sons when he began suffering at 13. My ignorance drove decisions that took our family quite publicly to very bad places.

Through the grace of God and the skills of others, we survived and healed. Treatment saved my son’s life and restored ours.

What are we waiting for? We need to finally open our hearts, change our minds and at long last no longer tolerate the shame and stigma that have kept too many people and families suffering alone and afraid for way too long. This culture change will cost us nothing but it will pay huge human dividends. Our kids are speaking to us. We need to hear them and support them.

OVER THE LAST 32 months, I have driven more than 70,000 miles on the main roads and back roads of New Hampshire on beautiful fall days and wintry ones, too, on a mission to change the culture and conversation around mental illness. It is the most important work I have done in my professional life. And I don’t say that lightly.

I have spoken to thousands and thousands of young people in countless gymnasiums and auditoriums asking for their help to change the often-unforgiving culture around mental illness that has existed for generations. And they listen. Some share their own mental health struggles with me in private moments and many more thank me for coming and talking about it.

Often, the students who share their emotional struggles with me have wet eyes and cracking voices. Sometimes they give me a hug and sometimes I offer them one. I remind them that their illness is not who they are. Some tell me they are ashamed of their mental illness or that others are ashamed of it. I have hugged several students in my travels who tried to take their own lives.

My school visits and conversations with young people have opened my eyes. I now see what was hiding in plain sight my whole life.

I wish you could be with me on those mornings when kids confide in me in such a personal way in the most impersonal surroundings. I wish you could see their young faces and experience the power in their tears and the relief in their hugs. All they need to hear to open up is that their mental health challenges are not their fault, that help is possible and that I won’t be judging them or blaming them for their suffering.

The students want to change the mental health culture, too. They want a different conversation as much as I do. They want the stigma to end and the shadows and shame to recede. They continually confirm my belief that silence and ignorance are not our friends and that emotional suffering is not preordained. I am inspired by these kids every time I am around them.

For real culture change to happen and for transformative conversation to begin, we all need to know what mental illness looks like, because half of it begins by age 14 and very often the young person afflicted doesn’t realize they have an illness. They think it’s just them.

John T. Broderick Jr. is the senior director of external affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and formerly served as chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Learn more about how John and Kim have teamed up to change the culture of mental health visit.

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

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The Conversation With My Leader That Saved My Life.

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.

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I Slept Through The Hotel Fire Alarm …

I slept through the hotel fire alarm at a corporate sales meeting.

The evening before, I had won the Directors Choice Award at a Business Development Sales Summit. Ironically, the Directors Choice Award was meant for one who is a leader, a trailblazer, someone committed to excellence.

I felt honored to receive that award and also felt like an imposter.

I celebrated with my coworkers after the event, and in usual celebratory fashion, one drink led to two drinks which led to several more. I have no recollection of walking back to my hotel room that night.

I learned the following day that there was a fire alarm in the hotel, and everyone evacuated, everyone but me. I was passed out in my room.

I also learned about “all the funny things I did.” I didn’t recall any of it. Outwardly, I laughed with my coworkers about the events from the night prior but inwardly, I was humiliated and ashamed.

I have been a high performer in the workplace my entire career. I was a mentor, coach, leader, trailblazer, and nightly drinker. My daily dose of evening wine was 4-6 large glasses followed by morning hangovers.

I wore a mask of high performance and happiness in the workplace, but behind closed doors I felt like an imposter. These masks hid the intense amounts of shame and guilt I carried because I knew I had a problem, but I was afraid to talk about it. I was afraid to admit to my alcohol use because I feared being judged, losing my integrity, and ultimately losing my seat at the corporate table.

Because of stigma in the workplace, I didn’t feel like I had a safe space to speak openly about my internal pain. Consequently, I kept it hidden and remained silent.

SILENCE IS TOXIC.

As a result of the hidden pain, I fell deep into a deep depression, experienced waves of anxiety, and experienced intense suicidal ideations.

During this time, I remained a high performer. I wore a suit of armor to hide my pain.

On July 16, 2009, I made the call that changed my life. I called my doctor’s office at 4:45pm and was seen at 5:15pm by the most kind, compassionate, nonjudgmental nurse practitioner. He saw the pain and anguish in my eyes and knew I needed help.

He looked me straight into my eyes and said, “Kim, you are living with a few treatable illnesses. I am going to help you and We are going to do this Together!”

He created a container of safety within the walls of the exam room and allowed me to speak my truth. The safe space he created for me is the reason why I am here today.

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.

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Sustaining Mental Health During COVID-19 with Clinical Simulation

Sustaining Mental Health During COVID-19 with Clinical Simulation

Sustaining Mental Health During COVID-19 with Clinical Simulation

Healthcare providers and learners around the world are under extreme pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of our colleagues may be suffering internally from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and alcohol use disorder, but still maintaining an external air of rationality and calm. How can we use clinical simulation to train ourselves to recognize, appreciate, and work through these challenges? Today’s guest authored an article by Kim LaMontagne MBA, an international speaker, teacher, and author who describes the lived experience of a high performing individual who lived in silence in the workplace with mental illness and substance use disorder. Here, she shares her journey on creating and sustaining a mentally healthy workplace culture and identifies key warning signs that we can utilize through medical simulation to educate and train for. Kim writes…

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Mental Health and Stigma in the Workplace

Stigma refers to the negative internal attitudes and beliefs people hold toward something. Stigma can also be an amalgamation of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination. Discrimination is the external effect of the stigma that results in the denial of individuals their rights and social inclusion.  Stigma and discrimination can be more detrimental to the individual than the actual mental illness. This is due to the withdrawal of support from loved ones and colleagues in addition to shunning and exclusion. Numerous misconceptions still exist about mental illness which leads to stigma and shame.

Stigma is disrespectful and is the number one barrier to treating mental health conditions.  

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