BASF ECMS makes mental health a priority

In response to growing mental health concerns for employees in the manufacturing world, the BASF Environmental Catalyst and Metal Solutions (ECMS) Seneca site decided to be proactive.

The large-scale precious metals recycler has partnered with Prisma Health to provide a mental health first aid course to supervisors, emergency response, and change agent employees that provides a three-year certification to deal with the growing demand in the manufacturing industry.

“In response to the concerning rise in mental health challenges within our state — a reality hitting close to home — we felt compelled to take proactive steps,” said Elba Lizardi, site director in Seneca. “Our aim was clear: to equip our supervisors with the tools to recognize risks and extend crucial support to those in their care, while also fostering an environment where mental health is openly discussed and destigmatized.”

The first training was held in April, and a second is planned for this fall, which underscores the demand, said Harriet Simmons, the site’s distribution manager and change agents sponsor.

“When I began my career 28 years ago, mental health was not a topic for discussion. The resources provided not only empower us to support and advocate for our colleagues in the workplace, but also equip us in our community and personal lives,” Simmons said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to have participated, and for Seneca’s commitment to acknowledging, equipping, and investing in making a positive difference in the lives of employees, friends, and family.”

According to the Manufacturers Alliance, 41% of manufacturing employers say that mental health challenges have negatively impacted employee retention efforts; 58% of manufacturing employees stated that work stress often impacted their personal relationships; and 54% of manufacturing workers know a co-worker impacted by a substance use disorder or addiction.

Highlights of the Prisma program done at ECMS include:

  • Eight-hour training course providing a comprehensive overview of mental health, first aid for mental health issues, and crisis response.
  • Manuals and additional resources to support ongoing learning and reference.
  • Interactive elements such as simulation activities were incorporated to enhance learning and practical application.
  • Participants receive a three-year certification upon completion.

“We’re grateful to Prisma Health for their invaluable collaboration and commitment to partnering with us in training our employees,” Lizardi said. “We understand the profound impact of workplace interactions, recognizing that our employees often spend more time with their coworkers than with their own families. This initiative reflects our commitment to fostering a supportive and resilient community within our workplace.”

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