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To the editor: Mental health organizational culture needs to shift

To the editor:

I support changing the current mental health organizational culture. It's been my experience in the Northland community and residential mental health organizations, the culture is focused heavily on profits instead of the human capital within the team structure.

According to author Shawn Achor, "Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we'll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those 5 pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around."

We are in a position to facilitate change with the influence of millennials and make a shift from "bleeding red" with the high turnover rates to a more sustainable level by addressing the field's current culture.

Author P.G. Northouse defines culture as "the learned beliefs, values, rules, norms, symbols and traditions that are common to a group of people. It is these shared qualities of a group that makes them unique. Culture is dynamic and transmitted to others."

During my open dialogue with mental health providers, they continue to feel invalidated and often required to put aside their own self-care. The individual feels he or she is not able to say "no" to overtime or covering additional shifts because it would be perceived as not being a team player. This causes increased call-ins or on-shift mental errors leading to progressive discipline. Other individuals will resign, which continues the fierce hiring cycle and the employer does not complete a self-examination of its current culture.

"New opportunities rarely fit the way an industry has always approached the market, defined it or organized to serve it," wrote P. Drucker in the Harvard Business Review.

It's my experience most mental health organizations are competing for the same talent pool and not separating themselves or changing the current organizational culture.

John Peura

Carlton County




Achor, S. (2017, 10 13). The Happiness Advantage." Retrieved from GoodThink:

Northouse," target="_blank">


P. G. (2015). "Leadership: Theory and Practice," 7th edition.

Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.

Drucker, P. (1998). "The Discipline of Innovation." Harvard Business Review,