By trade, Barbra Klug handles complex international and domestic legal matters as one of Kohler Co.’s in-house commercial attorneys—tackling contract negotiations and providing legal advice on commercial and real estate matters across Kohler’s corporate functions and four international business groups. It’s a critical role for the company, to be sure, but she holds another title of equal (or more) importance: Co-Founder and Co-President of our HeadsUP Business Resource Group (BRG).
HeadsUP is dedicated to promoting mental health awareness, education, and support for all and advocating for those Kohler associates, family, and friends affected by mental illness. With 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. alone experiencing mental illness each year, there is much work to be done.
“We want our colleagues to know that our BRG recognizes that mental health can mean so many different things to different individuals, and we are working to build an organization that can support each of them,” Barbra explained.
The BRG started by building a “mental health calendar,” designed to recognize and provide support during various mental health awareness months and days of observance. For example, May represents Mental Health Awareness Month, June includes PTSD Awareness Day, July represents Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and so on. During each month, the HeadsUP BRG committees host, promote, and share information around the activities and resources relevant to these themes.
“Poor mental health can negatively affect every facet of a person’s life,” Barbra explained. “It’s something everyone can relate to, whether personally or in connection with another person, and providing a place of inclusion for all at Kohler was a primary driver for starting this BRG.”
Her passion for mental health stems from an unfortunate personal experience. Ten years ago, Barbra’s brother died by suicide, leaving her and her family devastated. Throughout the years, Barbra took the sadness and anger that she felt from his passing and turned it into a passion for supporting mental illness, with the hopes that she could make an impact on at least one person’s life.
It’s an impact that is already taking shape.
“As we’ve gotten this BRG off the ground, I’m already humbled by the stories shared and experiences endured,” she said.
The HeadsUP team will continue to partner with the other Kohler BRGs, Kohler’s Wellness Committee and employee assistance program, and external mental health organizations to make an impact at Kohler, as well as promote more awareness of the variety of mental health resources available to associates.
“We are working to fight the stigma around mental illness,” Barbra added. “Every time an individual joins HeadsUP, attends one of our events, or is helped by one of our resources, we are taking another step forward in that fight here at Kohler.”