November 27, 2019

A Different Perspective on Mental Health Awareness and Education, with Eric Kussin

Episode 27:

Eric Kussin is an 18-year pro sports executive who has worked at the NBA league office, the Chicago Sky & Bulls, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Devils, & Florida Panthers. Eric was fortunate enough to find a higher calling after an intense mental health battle. A little over a year ago, he formed a global alliance of athletes and celebrities, along with expert practitioners: The Global Mental Health Alliance. Its members know that life affects all of us, no matter our background or status, and that mental health exists on a continuum, as opposed to sufferers vs. non-sufferers.

Together, they are using platforms and consistent messaging to change the narrative around the world, educate the masses, implement much-needed programs on the ground, and make it comfortable for everyone to ask for help when they need it. Their #SameHere Movement is a campaign that’s woven throughout their communication. It’s a sign language gesture that can be used universally in the context of the mental health world to mean: same here, I too struggle with some of life’s inevitable challenges. We’re in this together.

Eric travels around the country and the world, presenting to audiences everywhere from athletes at Michigan to USC, to First Responders in Vancouver, to the Clippers & the Cavaliers, to CNBC to NYU Langone Hospital.

Eric holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell’s Dyson School of Business, Marketing & Management, and “keeps his foot in sports, consulting for a number of professional sports teams and leagues.”

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Eric came to his role in promoting mental health awareness and education after his own two-and-a-half year mental health crisis
  • Eric shares his powerful personal struggle with mental health issues and the remarkable amount of medications and treatments he tried with little success
  • How Eric realized that mental health is an issue that affects everyone, and why this profound realization and a desire to share his story became the foundation of his work
  • What mental health misconceptions Eric has seen in his work, and why trauma is a universal experience
  • Why the commonly repeated statistic that “one in five people are mentally ill” is overly emphasized
  • Why “stop the stigma” campaigns can create an unhelpful divide between “mentally ill” and “mentally healthy” people
  • How and why Eric came up with the concepts behind his organization, including the slogan and logo “We Are All A Little Crazy”
  • What steps HR and diversity & inclusion practitioners can take to create a supportive workplace, and why an organization’s culture needs to change on a foundational level
  • Why business leaders’ willingness to share their own vulnerability and experiences is an important key to creating a positive workplace atmosphere
  • What steps and practices Eric teaches employers to help them better support their employees’ mental healt

Additional resources: