Feature Stories

Astellas expands employee support during Mental Health Awareness Month

May 24, 2017

As a growing number of public figures, celebrities and even our own colleagues have disclosed their struggles and experiences with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, corporations such as Astellas are also stepping up their support for workers’ mental health needs. 

We have a longstanding tradition of providing comprehensive wellbeing resources for our employees and their family members and fully support a holistic approach to mental health wellbeing.

During Mental Health Awareness Month this month, our People Living with Disabilities Employee Resource Group (PLWDERG) selected mental health as its primary area of focus for 2017. The group will promote the importance of mental and emotional wellness, as well as the extensive, nationally recognized mental health benefits available to Astellas employees, including access to:

  • Information about available community resources that can reduce stress related to caring for children, parents or both;
  • Disability care experts that can visit a home to determine if it is well-configured to accommodate special needs; and
  • Counseling sessions with psychologists, psychiatrists or social workers, with most of the costs borne by Astellas


“Our employee resource group expands our colleagues’ knowledge base about a wide range of diverse disabilities, but this year we’re really honing in on mental health,” said Jeff Winton, SVP, Corporate Affairs Americas, and executive sponsor of PLWDERG. “Astellas has worked hard to remind our colleagues that mental health issues, whether experienced by the employee or a loved one, can pose an extreme burden to every family member and there are strategies and resources available to reduce the stress. Personally, a number of my own family members have been impacted by various forms of mental illness, so this is a topic that is very important to me.”

To kickoff Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Council for Behavioral Health, along with Aetna EAP, conducted training at our Americas headquarters in Northbrook, Ill., to help our ERG members recognize mental health and stress-related issues and learn new ways to support their team members. This training was previously provided to our HR team and is being reviewed as an ongoing component of our manager-training program.

We launched our updated and expanded employee mental health program in 2014. A year later, in an article entitled “A New Era: Companies Supporting Caregivers,” Forbes magazine highlighted our progressive approach to addressing child care and elder care needs.

“Our employees have given us very positive feedback on our efforts to help them balance career responsibilities with their personal lives, including the care they need to provide to their families,” said Collette Taylor, Astellas senior vice president of Human Resources and Facility Management. “Our leadership will always recognize the important roles that our employees play in serving patients with our products. In return, we will always do whatever we can to help our colleagues be happy and healthy, at work and at home.”

The PLWDERG is committed to supporting the Astellas HR team in this effort.

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