#FreeBritney Movement: Mental Health, Stigma, and the Workplace

by: Rohan Atal

39-year-old American singer Britney Spears has been controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, under a conservatorship — granting him full power over her decisions regarding work, medical care, finances, and personal life.

Following Britney’s well-publicized breakdown of 2007 and 2008, which included shaving her own head at a Los Angeles salon and attacking a paparazzi’s SUV, Britney began taking trips to rehab. This led to the Los Angeles Superior Court granting Britney’s father legal guardianship, stating that she was not capable of making her own decisions in 2008.

#FreeBritney: Freedom Over Conservatorship

The singer’s fans across the globe took to Twitter to advocate for Britney Spears’ freedom with the #FreeBritney. In her recent appeal to a judge on June 23rd, 2021, she describes that this structure has left her “angry”, “traumatized,” and “depressed.” She went on to explain that her conservators would use the terms of the contract to make her work against her will and prevented her from removing an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD). These events have reignited discourse about mental health, the workplace and bodily autonomy.

Mental Health, Stigma, and the Workplace

Stigma surrounding mental health is highly prevalent to this date. Those who are vocal about their struggles, are ridiculed and quickly dismissed. Their calls for help are often ignored and they are left to struggle alone until their situation becomes worse.

This begs the question: what are the correct steps that should be taken to help those struggling with their mental health?

At Diversio, our mission is to help workplaces answer this question using artificial intelligence. By benchmarking the experiences of employees with mental health conditions against the dominant group of the workforce, we analyze the experiences of employees and develop customized recommendations for how organizations can provide support to their employees. They are then able to track their progress as they implement the policies.

Publicized events such as the #FreeBritney movement should continue to serve as a reminder for employers to chime in on the national discourse surrounding mental health, and develop a plan to maintain the wellbeing of their workforce.

To learn more about how you can make your workplace more inclusive, visit our website: www.diversio.com

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