In honor of Mental Health Month, Quartet’s focus this week will be the “Mental Health and Me” series, a compilation of pieces that highlight how communal identity can influence mental health and access to mental health care. Each piece in this series was written by a Quartet Employee Resource Group (ERG). ERGs enhance the sense of belonging for diverse groups at Quartet, provide safe spaces for employees to lean on each other, and generate belonging among employees. The piece below was submitted by the Parents Employee Resources Group (ERG).
At Quartet, parents are integral to the growth and success of our company. But we’re also responsible for raising good humans. Familiar with navigating both parenting and business challenges and successes, we asked the members of our Parents Employee Resources Group (ERG) what mental health means to them. They offered some thoughts on how being a parent makes things different (or not!) and the advice they have for others. Here are some of their responses:
How does your identity as a parent impact your decisions about mental health?
As a parent, the ability to acknowledge one’s personal state of being is of the utmost importance. According to Lire Jackson, Quartet’s long-time Senior Account Manager from Pittsburgh, her top priority is staying aware of how she is feeling and recognizing when she is feeling low so that she can address it; “The last thing I want is for my mental health to affect my children.”
Kelly Krasner, one of Quartet’s Provider Network Managers in North Carolina, says that mental health is top of mind now more than ever, for both her and her children: “We openly discuss the importance of [mental health], just like brushing our teeth, drinking water, and good sleep. I’m grateful to Quartet because I have learned even more strategies and ideas here and feel it is really helping my children and me to bond over the importance of mental health.”
Other Quartetians commented on feeling an increased sense of responsibility to take care of their mental health after becoming parents: sleeping, eating, and seeking support helps you help your children. Chiquita Hooker, Inside Sales Representative for the Care Options Acquisition team, says: “I have to be mindful of my time and make sure the children are cared for, although I still have work on my mind.”
How have your mental health needs changed after becoming a parent?
“I needed to focus more on the simple things,” writes one parent, and others agree. Julia Carabas, Senior Director on Quartet’s Customer Success team, adds: “Children tend to focus on small, simple things that are happening right now, and you have to adjust to that. It’s not easy. Learning patience was part of my mental health journey after becoming a parent.”
“The normal amount of daily stress increases and you just have to learn to cope with a new threshold,” says Lire Jackson. Quartetian parents highlighted the importance of taking breaks, being aware of, and focusing on one’s emotions and asking for help when you need it. We could all use more breaks, including our kids — and that’s okay! Our mental health needs change all the time, just like we change all the time.
“Children are little for only a short, few years but they will be adults forever. Embrace the wonder: the kite-flying, coloring, going to bed dirty, and time together. Let children be children in all their messy, noisy, frustrating, confusing, and precious ways. Believe it or not: that is a nice recipe for making some pretty darn good adults down the road,” says Kelly Krasner.
And when you need a bit of support — or a lot more of it — ask for help and accept it. There was a notable theme emphasized by many: “it takes a village.” While parents can certainly do it alone, having a helping hand is important. It’s just as important to say no sometimes: to assistance, to advice, to your kids, to anything that isn’t helping your mental health.
Mental health is health, and Quartet parents know it.