Welcome to the Post-Acute Point of View Podcast, our discussion hub for healthcare technology in the out-of-hospital space. Here we talk about the latest news and views on trends and innovations that can impact the way post-acute care providers work. We'll also dive into how technology can make a difference in today's changing healthcare landscape for home and facility-based workers and the people they care for. Let's dive in.
Patricia Toledo (00:34):
My name is Patricia Toledo and I am the head of product management for MatrixCare. Today we are here to discuss how prioritizing mental health reduces turnover and leads to better outcomes for long-term care. I'm here with a special guest, Trina Clayeux. Hi, Trina. Trina is the CEO of Give an Hour. Funded in 2005, Give an Hour is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming mental health by building strong and healthy individuals and community. We are very honored to have you today, Trina. A little bit, introduction about myself. I have over 25 years of experience in the intersection of strategy, technology, and innovation, working different countries and sectors such as education technology, financial services, and healthcare technology. I joined MatrixCare about five months ago to support leading our digital transformation. With that being said, I would like to invite you, Trina, to introduce yourself, and first start our discussion.
Trina Clayeux (01:48):
Thank you so much, Patricia. I am Trina Clayeux. I am the CEO of Give an Hour, and I am heading into my third year in this role of really looking at how we transform mental health care across the United States.
Patricia Toledo (02:03):
Amazing. Thank you. I'm very excited for this conversation. Trina, let's begin by having you tell our audience your story. Early career, what led you to this current position?
Trina Clayeux (02:15):
Absolutely. Actually, and it's so timely to have this conversation. My entire career has really been population focused work. A lot of it has been related to workforce education and workforce development, and so I have this just innate desire to really help promote workforce development and making sure that people have great fits in their careers, in their jobs and careers, and transforming the workforce and the workplace. People really ... We spend the majority of our time at work, and so making it a place where people feel healthy and happy and can be really productive. Prior to this role, it's always focused on these interconnected pillars about empowerment, social stability, poverty alleviation, holistic wellbeing, inclusivity, and it all really came together into this job. A lot of things that I did previously, I was a chief operating officer in work that had to do with affordable housing, work that had to do with quality and parity in education for populations that are a little bit at the margins.
As I worked with these populations, I really saw that the underpinning of workforce in education and workplace satisfaction is really centered in mental health and wellbeing. It was also one of the most kind of misunderstood and neglected foundations in all of these areas, and so I became very, very interested in, what does it look like to bring really customized mental health to populations that aren't accessing it or can't access it easily? That really started this journey with Give an Hour.
Patricia Toledo (03:48):
Oh, wow. How inspiring. We are so lucky for having you here today. I believe our audience will have a lot to learn from you. As the CEO of a Give an Hour, what motivated you to lead an organization dedicated to transforming mental health and build a strong community, on top of what you already shared with us?
Trina Clayeux (04:12):
I feel very hopeful and optimistic that we can change the way in which mental health is experienced for anyone across the country. There's the systems challenges, there's perception challenges, there's stigma, there's access, and there's so much, and especially post-pandemic, so during the pandemic and post-pandemic, there's just a lot of noise out there about mental health and understanding what mental health is, and how can you approach it, and how can it become accessible to anyone? I like to think of it now as, mental health is a team sport. We all have a role to play, and each of us have the opportunity to participate in really changing the way that we think and experience mental health. I think that when we look at some of the things that we're able to do, addressing barriers to mental health, which can be access, as you well know. We have a tremendous shortage of licensed professional mental health providers, and even accessing care when you have great insurance is challenging, let alone if you don't have great insurance or you don't have other forms of access. There's financial access. Even with great insurance, copays. I mean, it becomes very, very expensive, if you can.
There's cultural stigma attached to mental health. Many communities haven't had great experiences with mental health, or they experience it differently than is traditionally trained for. Then, just talking about the workforce, we're going to have a real interesting time of generational approach, when you have multi-generations in the workforce like we do now, but we also have new generations who are coming in who have different experiences and expectations that they're going to bring into the workplace. It's really the bedrock of where there's a lot of stress, and there can be a lot of opportunity to reduce that stress. You have workers who come to work who feel productive, who feel valued, who feel like they're experiencing support within the workplace, and at the end of the day, that's better results for, in this case, residential care, where you have individuals that you are in entrusting to provide really high quality care. I feel like we're in a great place, and I also feel like there's some saturation in it right now where people are a little bit exhausted with this high level discourse. What we're hoping to do at Give an Hour is really bring it down into something consumable that matters to you, day-to-day.
Patricia Toledo (06:33):
I like that a lot. Yeah. We know that lack of knowledge increases, leads us to stigma, right, and I like that you said about stigma, and stigma is a big word. This is going to lead us to our next topic here, because in the context of senior care and long-term care, how do you believe addressing mental health, including with this caveat of the stigma in the middle of the subject, how addressing mental health can contribute to reducing turnover among staff members? We know that, as you touched the subject, we know that by 2030, 100% of our baby boomers will be over 65 years old, right? 21% of US population will be in retirement age. We also know today we have a shortage of staff, and with the aging caregivers and also the aging population, the shortage of staff will be greater. How can mental health contribute with this equation, reducing turnover among staff members?
Trina Clayeux (07:55):
I know in the work that we've done, the research that we've looked at, the ecosystems we are in, this is really the top topic, is about workforce shortages, quality of care, and just not enough people, and what do we do? Our approach is always to help the helpers. We start with the people who are at the direct service level first, and that really involves that direct service all the way up to their supervisor. This is such a critical area of focus. To back up a little bit, when we look at the research, we're really seeing a huge perception gap between what employers think is happening in terms of mental health and what employees are experiencing in terms of mental health. Just one example would be, there's stats, anywhere between 25 and 67% of individuals are actively looking for other work and would leave. One stat I saw was, 63% people would just walk off a job with no job to even go to, where employers are saying, "We think that number's more like five to 20% of our workforce, is looking for other jobs." Right there, you're just seeing, we're navigating two different conversations.
The top reasons that people are leaving work is low compensation, which I think is the one out of all of them that it's challenging to control for, but the other ones are so underpinned by the mental health aspects of it, which is a toxic workplace, job negativity, feeling undervalued at work, and then no clear path for career development. When you really look at, wow, if we could get that perception gap closer together, where we're having a different conversation about, what does mental health look like? That underpins toxic workplace, job negativity. Understanding what is happening, and when you are a direct service individual, there's a tremendous amount of stress. Every layer of work has stress, but these are the folks who are touching your customers. These are the folks who are that front line.
Underpinning really good mental health practices, which includes that supervisor, and all the research that I've looked at has said that. That's your pain point, right there, is your supervisor. They could be a great human being, they could be a wonderful leader, but if they don't know how to interact and engage in mental health support that touches someone else, that feels very genuine and feels informed, then you're going to continue to have these huge disconnects. That does lead to lack of job satisfaction and people leaving the profession or going and finding another place to work at, and at the end of the day, it harms the quality of care for residents.
Patricia Toledo (10:35):
Oh, this point is very important. I believe that the supervisor in this sense can be our agent of transformation, right? We believe that we can train the trainer and then scale impact. I love what you said, and Trina, how does Give an Hour collaborate with organizations or even large companies across the US to integrate mental health support into their existing systems and processes? Can you provide examples of successful partnership or initiatives Given an Hour had or has? I would love to learn more about that.
Trina Clayeux (11:17):
Absolutely. I think, well, there's a couple of approaches that our model has. One is, we're very human centered, and so we're not trying to take off-the-shelf products and bring them into an organization and say, "Here, here's your mental health work." Rather, we know great practices, evidence-based practices, tools that can work, but what we really want to understand is how it's operating in your organization. If you look at residential care across the country, there's going to be similarities, but there's the differences, is where a lot of the friction or the tension exists. That's where we want to understand, so we do spend a lot of time with organizations, really trying to understand your culture. How are you approaching mental health? What does leadership support look like? What type of priority is this and how do you integrate it in a way that it's not separate? You're not having a separate conversation about mental health and a separate conversation about DEI and a separate conversation about another, challenges at work, but rather, how do you incorporate these really great practices in your day-to-day and so it becomes part of your culture?
We worked with medical workers during the pandemic, was a great example. We did a hospital heroes program, so it was really trying to understand, what kind of support were people looking for? In that case it was, they needed to talk to other people who were going through what they were going through. It's not always just looking, "How do I get a therapist?" A lot of times we're looking at what is happening organically, and then, where are the gaps, and then, how can we really weave together a community of support that can last and is durable and can stay in an organization as part of the culture?
You have to have somebody there who's really championing it, and an organization like ours where we can weave it together and really pour into it so it becomes something really reciprocal, and that becomes more of a peer support model. There's lots of opportunities with EAP and other programs that organizations bring in, and there's often a disconnect. We actually help teach people how to navigate care. The employers may be doing an incredible amount of things that the employee either doesn't know or understand, and so the more that we can make that visible, but it really takes getting to know people, getting to understand these day-to-day stressors, and then helping them with tools to navigate mental health. Mental health isn't about being happy and uplift all the time. It's really about managing the challenges so that you have the quality of life that you're looking for.
Then, we build these really incredible toolkits. I know toolkit is kind of an overused word, but it's really to move people from mental health friendly to mental health informed, and how does it look and feel in your organization? It goes back to, as you took note of, is, how do you help that supervisor really understand what skills and tools they already have? Then, how do you fill in some of the gaps of some of the things that that person may be experiencing, but doesn't know how to manage that, especially from a performance standpoint, with another individual? You're doing that kind of art and science of, what does it mean to be a great human, and what are some really great mental health practices that you can put in place and really coach people up on?
Patricia Toledo (14:33):
Oh, thank you, Trina. Building on what we just shared with us, we are in a journey of putting care back in the hands of caregivers. We're obsessed to free the hands of caregivers so they have more time to care and time to care for more people. Right? In your experience, how does mental wellbeing of staff members impact the quality of care provided in healthcare settings? How does Give an Hour work to ensure mental health support translates in better outcome, in better care? Can you share a little bit about that with us?
Trina Clayeux (15:11):
Absolutely. We take a person first approach, and we do that in our data collection. We do that in our modeling. We do that in all the assessment work that we do upfront, and a little bit of what I said before, which is, you really have to try to understand what people are experiencing, what they have in their little toolkit now, and then, where is that gap and what can you bring to the table that fits people's lifestyles, too? I think that's so important, is that we really try to figure out what is consumable. As an example, if somebody is a single parent and they're working a shift that doesn't coincide with their kids, and there's a lot of stress about being home when your child's home, what we're looking at is, where do you bridge the gap? Maybe it's looking at, how do you build community care plans? Who are your people? Who's your community who can help with certain things?
Once you start mapping that out, it's a really easy exercise, this little concentric circle. Who can you call to let out the dog? Who could be put on to pick up your child from daycare if there's a time where you can't get away from work? Then, as you build that out, you start to see not just what you have, but what you don't have. Then we can help kind of coach you through, how do you find those folks? How do you ask for help? Which is very hard for so many people, but what it does is it starts building more margins in your life and more capacity for you to really breathe and take some more time for yourself. That's where the interventions get really granular and really specific, and so while there's general good practices in mental health care, we also like to help people, really how it identifies and shows up in your life.
When you are able to do that, people will provide better services. We all get into professions because we have a passion for whomever and whatever that we're getting into, but if you don't have anything left in your cup, you can't pour into someone else. What we see across the board is, as people are more invested in the workplace, they are more invested in the outcomes of not just the direct care that they do, but the organizational success. That's where you get it to a point where it's operating outside of just this interaction between that person and their supervisor, that person and their peers, or that person and their customers or clients, but now they're invested in this organization's success and that's really where you get the best out of people.
Patricia Toledo (17:37):
I love that, and it's so important to understand the power of our support system, and also make sure we know what we don't have, because normally, we let this go and people ... We are human beings and we prioritize most of the time career, and so very important, this message. I hope our audience really implement this around themselves. Moving forward in this conversation, how do you see the perception and the prioritization of mental health in senior care evolving in the coming years? What role does Give an Hour actually play in driving in this change, right? We spoke about, the population's aging, but caregivers are aging, so how Give an Hour can support driving this change?
Trina Clayeux (18:37):
Yeah. Well, I think there's kind of the macro/micro level. I mean, the macro level is, we are really wanting to be part of this larger discourse about mental health. Some of that was the white noise I was saying before, which is, how do you break through so much conversation about mental health? I'm not sure that we're all saying the same thing or we're all experiencing the same thing, and so if you get down to kind of just the fundamentals, it's acknowledging that we all have mental health and it shows up in different ways, and some people need more support than others. It's really identifying, what is the support that someone needs, and then, how can you help people access that support? Then, for us, looking from an organizational standpoint, is, how can you invest in mental health support that people actually want and need?
I think that becomes the part, is, if we're investing so much money into mental health in the organization that people aren't using it, and we're literally seeing that, that people are not using what is available, I think that's a great time to go back and assess what's happening. Part of our work is to do those assessments, is to talk to people and to find out, what is actually happening and what do people need, and then, what would it take to get those resources in place? Looking at burnout, burnout is preventable, and I think we have to address that, to take a really positive approach to it, which is, there are many things that as an organization and as people that we can do. The more that we go down into that, having this larger conversation to really change how we talk and how we experience mental health at work, and then getting down into groups of people, and what can you do to support?
Then, I think there's that really granular thing, which is, what does this individual need in order for them to be fully invested in the organization and the work that they do? I think once you start really digging into it, you find out it's not that overwhelming. It's not that complicated. I mean, it's complicated, but we're naming it too large, and I think that's where the complication ... It feels like it's very nebulous and it moves a lot and it kind of transforms, it shape-shifts a little bit. I think that's where we're trying to say, what can we stabilize, and then what do you actually need? The idea at the end of the day is that Give an Hour, we want to come in and be able to support and stand up something that's durable, that can last, and is owned by the organization and the employees within it, and then back away, and then be able to be there as more of a support as things come up or come in, and lean in, in particular areas. It has to be built by the community for the community, and I feel like that's really our skillset.
Patricia Toledo (21:16):
Incredible, the power of a community. We say it takes a village, and literally what it is, right? Trina, we know senior care, long-term care, can be a challenging, demanding career. Right? It is a challenging profession, especially after COVID. What measures does Give an Hour take to promote self-care and prevent burnout? You mentioned burnout, right? What measures does Give an Hour take to promote self-care and prevent burnout among staff members in these settings?
Trina Clayeux (21:51):
Yeah, part of it is getting a real handle on, where are people currently? I think mapping. We're talking direct service level right now. Where do people put place themselves on kind of a burnout scale of fully engaged, happy, confident, feeling supported, all the way into feeling exhausted and not wanting to come to work and not functioning at their highest self? Having that visual of where everyone is at really does help you decide, again, where to place the resources, what types of resources, who would benefit, and then asking people, actually, "How do you want to be supported in this?" We can help move people down a scale of emotional exhaustion, but it's going to take an organizational commitment, and that does start with that supervisor.
Some of it can be educating the people around you to become better peer supporters. I can support you as a colleague. It was 70-some percent of people, will go to a colleague to talk about mental health. Well, we need to help educate people who you work with to make sure you know how to support people, ask the right questions, and help them get the kind of help that they need. Burnout is a specific type of stress, and it's related to work, and so mental health will encompass their overall emotional and psychological wellbeing, and these are individuals who are going to be at a higher risk of mental health issues that are going to affect them at home and at work, and so we have to be able to work as a team, trying to improve those work-related conditions and help people manage stress. It's a two-way street, and it's multidirectional every time. It's not just helping support the employee and then helping support the employer, but it's helping to support the dynamic between the employee and employer.
There's lots of ways of addressing it, and so part of it is understanding what the parameters are within the organization. I mean, when you're doing direct care work, that's a 24/7 operation, and so you can't necessarily shorten someone's hours because that impacts the operation. What else could we look at? Maybe there's a job share where you have a period of time where you have two people working a split shift. You can look at collaborating with other individuals to having a peer support group within there, that you have somebody to talk to. At the 15 minutes of every shift, is early, and people can talk and have a chance to decompress and have someone else say, "God, no, I totally understand, that resident is really challenging, so now I'm ready for it, so now I know what's going on." There's certain things that can be put in place that, again, are going to be cost-effective or it's going to be the right level of investment.
Maybe you have to pay people for that 15 minutes of overlap, but if that is something that they actually want and need and it's going to improve quality of care because that individual feels heard and feels valued, and now they're ready to go into their eight-hour shift full of excitement and empathy in wanting to work with each other, then that's going to be a really great investment into your employees. It's a comprehensive approach, but I think until you really start working down into actual people and conversations, you're going to stay so high that a lot of the resources that you're putting towards mental health are not going to land. They're not going to land for the people there.
Patricia Toledo (25:05):
Trina, I think our audience would like to learn more about, are there any specific training or education opportunities provided by Give an Hour focused on equipping care staff with the necessary skills and knowledge? Right? We said about knowledge, stigma, and knowledge to address mental health challenges effectively. I heard a little bit about that, and I would love you to share this with our audience.
Trina Clayeux (25:32):
Yes, I could start with the free resources that we have. We keep a lot of resources on our pages, and like I said before, we really try to make them consumable. It's a lot of micro-learning, where you can just look at those resources and say, "Yeah, this is something that I can integrate into my life." The other thing that we have is wellness ambassadors, and so you can become a Give an Hour wellness ambassador. We have an area on our landing page where you can sign up, and then we actually will provide more information so you can feel more confident at your place of worship or your workplace or in your home, about really investing and learning more about mental health, what it is, what it isn't, and what your role is to play in that. We would love to add more wellness ambassadors. This is a capacity building strategy for sure, because the more we talk about it, the more we de-stigmatize it, and the more that people are more apt to get the kind of help that they want and need.
We also train mental health providers, so licensed providers. We have a network of about 4000 mental health providers that we pour into, and we ask them to also do clinical care for certain populations that we work with, and we provide the continued education credits, but we do it on topics that they care about. That's a place, if you're a mental health provider and you want to join the network, you have access to our trainings, many, many trainings, and a peer network there, because we know that those providers, just like frontline individuals, need additional support. They were asking for more opportunities to talk to other people like them and really trouble through some of the stress and pressures that they're feeling, especially through and post-COVID.
Then, we do customized training for businesses, and so I think that's what we talked about today, is, how do you work within your organization to really understand what's happening and what really could be implemented and could be trained to, and that can become part of the culture, and how will that improve the overall organizational effectiveness and quality of care, and reduce all the things that we don't want, right? Reduce attrition, reduce burnout, and increase people's excitement when they come to work. I mean, at the end of the day, we all want a happy, healthy, productive workplace, and I really believe at the end of the day, when you get real specific, it's going to be some minor up-skilling, minor interventions. It's not so nebulous, because so many organizations are doing incredible work, and it's really just tightening up where those gaps are, identifying them and filling them, and really building it into, how do you want this to operate? Then, how do people want to receive it? It's an exciting time to be in mental health, for sure, and to integrate it into addressing some of these workforce issues and challenges that we're having across industries and certainly in residential care.
Patricia Toledo (28:10):
Oh, excellent. Trina, just to close this topic, what advice would you give to long-term care providers that are interested in prioritizing mental health wellbeing, right? Supporting their staff members, but they're unsure of where to begin?
Trina Clayeux (28:28):
Well, I think the biggest one is really understanding how this falls as a priority for your organization and what the priority is tied to. It could be multiple things it's tied to. You want to reduce attrition, you want to increase people's happiness, you want to increase recruitment, retention, quality of care, but getting specific about what it is you're trying to address I think will help a lot, but it does have to come from the top. It has to be a priority, and again, if it's set aside priority outside the normal operation of an organization, it's going to be very, very challenging, because as soon as it's not a priority, it will fade away. That's why we're really looking at, how do you underpin everything that you do with really good mental health practices?
I think the other thing is that there has to be a real recognition and conversation about how the past three to four years changed workers at their core, and that they are ... Almost like our DNA has changed, and we have to recognize, they are not looking to go back to pre-COVID, pre-COVID anything. I think that becomes really understanding that the fundamental workplace has changed and the workers have changed, and what does that mean? How do we optimize that as employers and work together? Then, I think really at the end of the day, is really the content of physical and mental wellbeing and how those things are joined together. It will also help with de-stigmatizing. People are more comfortable talking about physical wellbeing in many ways, but the more that we can take this as a holistic approach, the more consumable it will be. Especially putting in context work and life, and these are great skills at any point in your life, and they're not over here. They are actually in how you ... Our tagline is mental health for life, and I really believe that. It's for the longevity of you, but it's also in navigating life and career, and work-life balance is a big part of that. Those would be my top three.
Patricia Toledo (30:29):
I like that a lot. I remember someone told me one day, "We should allow people and give all the tools they need so they can thrive," and in our industry, thrive being providing the best care as possible. I love everything you said. We learned a lot. I think it's very important to learn how to prioritize mental health at this moment of our industry, right, to reduce the turnover, burnout. By the end of the day, it's just, be human-centric, user-centric, resident or patient-centric. When we pay attention, the behavior, the need, we see opportunities. Trina, thank you very much for this conversation. We're learning a lot from how the strategy, the initiatives, the topics you shared with us. I believe that reducing burnout and reducing turnover, the bottom line is, how can we support our staff to be better, to thrive in our environment, right? Thank you very much for your participation, for this conversation. I hope to see you soon, and if you'd like to leave a message to our audience, they'd love to listen now.
Trina Clayeux (31:46):
Yes, yes. Thank you so much for the timing of this conversation and the importance of it. I'm thrilled to be a part of it, and we all have the ability to change the way that we engage in mental health and that we talk about it. I just invite anyone who wants to be part of those conversations to contact us, and we'd be thrilled to help walk you through that. Thank you very much.
Patricia Toledo (32:07):
Thank you everybody, and I hope to see you soon in our next conversation. Have a great day.
That concludes the latest episode of the Post-Acute Point of View Podcast. We have a lot of guests and topics coming up that you won't want to miss, so be sure to subscribe. To learn more about MatrixCare and our solutions and services, visit matrixcare.com. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Thank you for listening. Be well, and we'll see you next time.