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Roe v. Wade: Companies must create culture of 'psychological safety,' expert says

·Senior Reporter
·4-min read
In this article:
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, a ruling that for nearly 50 years secured the federal right to obtain an abortion.

Following a rare leak from the Supreme Court last month suggesting Roe v. Wade would be overturned, companies including Tesla (TSLA), Amazon (AMZN), and Apple (AAPL) announced policies that would reimburse employee travel expenses incurred to obtain abortion care barred within their home state.

But what happens after?

According to a statement released by the American Psychological Association (APA), the overturning of Roe v. Wade "will exacerbate the mental health crisis America is already experiencing."

The organization cited "decades of scientific research" that demonstrates how people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to safely obtain the procedure.

Workplace happiness expert and author of the book "Beyond Happiness" Jenn Lim told Yahoo Finance that companies need to "create a sense of psychological safety" in the wake of the decision.

Lim went on to explain that elements of "psychological safety" include facilitating a workplace that allows for honest and diverse conversations with managers and coworkers, hiring outside coaches for non-biased opinions, in addition to actively upholding company values by recognizing the moments when they're being lived and calling out the times when they're not.

"Some of the 'Best Places to Work' companies are making these changes in a pretty effective way to really instill this sense of psychological safety," Lim said.

She credited top firms like Microsoft (MSFT) Salesforce (CRM) and Accenture (ACN) for hiring leaders "to put some bite into the PR soundbite," which, Lim says, often stops at words and not action.

"The biggest thing that leaders should do is not assume that they know the answers," she cautioned, emphasizing that the best practice for people in positions of power is "to actually ask, attentively listen and reiterate back what they learned so that people feel heard and understood."

Boston, MA - May 14: A person carries a message  during Bans Off Our Bodies, a pro-choice rally on Boston Common in Boston on May 16, 2022 in protest of the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Boston, MA - May 14: A person carries a message during Bans Off Our Bodies, a pro-choice rally on Boston Common in Boston on May 16, 2022 in protest of the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Overall, Lim said "there's going to be so many more topics that cause this kind of potential divisiveness."

"Employees just want to feel that they can be honest and transparent, but also be respected and not feel ostracized or judged because of their personal opinions."

Yahoo Finance reached out to several companies on their mental health policies following the Roe v. Wade decision. Here are some of their responses:

Netflix (NFLX)

According to the Netflix's "work life philosophy" page, global full-time employees and their dependents have access to various programs to support mental health such as mindfulness and meditation, as well as free counseling and coaching sessions.

In the U.S., visits with psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists are covered. Netflix also partners with Lyra to provide 25 free sessions for coaching and/or therapy and Headspace for meditation and mindfulness resources.

With some health insurance plans, employees can use medical benefits for additional therapy visits.

"At Netflix, we know you want to produce work you are proud of. In order to perform your best, you have to feel your best. Mental health is important to your overall health," the company stated.

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD)

Warner Bros. Discovery employees have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers solutions to real-life problems through confidential, personalized support.

Additionally, employees and and their eligible dependents have access to emotional wellness resources and clinical support, including personal coaching. This service is not specific to reproductive care — it is broadly available for assistance with any issues employees may be dealing with, the company said.

Lyft (LYFT)

Lyft provides free therapy through Modern Health as a current benefit to employees.

At no cost, workers have access to 15 coaching sessions and 12 therapy sessions, as well as self-serve resources like guided meditations and cognitive behavioral training workshops.

The ride-sharing giant also encourages employees to take advantage of several leave policies to support mental health. These include unlimited paid time off for salaried team members with manager approval, as well as 12 paid company holidays (plus extra recharge days) throughout the year.

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

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