A Better Way to Address Mental Health at Work

My interest in mental wellness at work started very young.  When I was 10 years old, I watched as my father went through intense anxiety and distress before he left for each month-long, offshore trawling trip. His work was a source of trauma for him, yet the only source of income for the family.  That was my first experience seeing the emotional and psychological pain around someone’s work.

Somewhere along the line, I developed the belief that work was related to suffering. And as I grew older, I developed an intense desire to make a difference in the field of mental health and wellness as it related to work.

After becoming a doctor of psychology and licensed psychologist, I worked as a Fitness for Duty Officer for healthcare providers in a large hospital system. Once again, I witnessed the anguish many experienced around their job.  In desperation, some even stole their patients’ medications to ease their own emotional pain, which ultimately caused them to be placed on probation by their licensing body.  This was an incredible eye-opener for me – seeing real people working in such high stress environments that it caused overwhelming strain and trauma to their central nervous systems.

The problem wasn’t only with front-line positions.  I also saw these effects in other jobs and work environments that did not establish psychological safety and trauma-informed care or offer adequate support when an employee was in distress.

Resilience did not even seem to help.  If an employee was in a stressful, non-compassionate work environment, in chronic fight-flight mode, without immediate accessible support, the trauma symptoms accumulated.  

Over the years, I saw how companies tried to address workplace wellness using outsourced support or short-term training.  Yet that’s like putting a band-aid on acritical wound.  It’s not enough for lasting change.

Using my personal and professional experience, plus the insights from my extensive research study on workplace wellness in North America, I set out to create a viable, effective approach to wellness at work.

Based on the successful Nickerson Institute Certified Integrative Health Coach Training Program (in mental health and wellness coaching), we developed the Corporate Integrative Health Coach(CIHC) training program.  This 15-module,200-hour accredited online program focuses on mental health and wellness at both the individual and organizational levels, training key personnel to support the employees from directly within the corporation.  

My mantra is this:  It’s time for our approach to mental health to be accessible, on-going and consistent until it becomes a way of life within the workplace.

To receive a brochure on our CIHC training program, please submit your request here:

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Dr. Nickerson's professional experience as a psychologist and personal passion for developing the mind-body-spirit connection have fueled her success and devotion to training individuals and organizations to foster whole wellness.