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Texans honored for workplace program

— The Houston Texans NFL franchise was recently presented with a Best Practices Honor from the American Psychological Association (APA). The Texans were recognized for providing insurance parity for mental health treatment. This practice is an example of a health and safety initiative, one of the components of a psychologically healthy workplace.

The Houston Texans franchise was among 10 organizations to receive this recognition at an awards ceremony held in

on March 3. The organization is a previous winner of the Texas Psychological Association state-level Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, qualifying them for the Best Practices nomination.

"The Houston Texans are proud to be a leader in the professional sports industry in providing mental health parity for its employees," Texans vice chairman Philip Burguieres said.

"We are even more proud because Team management believes that assisting employees in this manner will enable employees to live fuller, healthier lives. At the same time, the Texans organization can count on enjoying significant cost savings from increased productivity and reduced absenteeism and turnover." 

By ensuring that their benefits package includes mental health insurance coverage that is equivalent to physical health coverage, the Texans are helping to end discrimination against people with mental health disorders and assure that treatment is available for those who need it.

Management feels so strongly that focusing on the whole person is critical, that on August 1, 2002, the Texans became the first NFL franchise to establish mental health parity for its employees.

Without the stigma and financial barriers that can prevent people from accessing mental health services, employees are more likely to seek help early on and can focus on their jobs, knowing that affordable assistance is available, if needed. Attending to employees' mental health lowers absenteeism and fosters an engaged and productive workforce — all of which affect the team's financial performance.

Additionally, knowing that management has employees covered in this regard goes a long way toward creating loyalty and commitment to the Texans' mission to be the most respected and valuable professional sports franchise in the world.

"The link between employee health and well-being and organizational performance is clear. Employers who embrace that connection are better able to develop a high-performing workforce that serves as a competitive advantage in the marketplace," says Russ Newman, PhD, JD, APA's executive director for professional practice.

"The Houston Texans' commitment to health and safety and its low absenteeism rates demonstrate the benefits of investing in a psychologically healthy workplace."

The Best Practices Honors is a national recognition that highlights those state-level winners with a particularly innovative program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment and meets the unique needs of the organization and its employees. Nominees come from a pool of previous state-level winners and are selected through a competitive evaluation and judging process.

More information about the Best Practices Honorees and the National PHWA winners is available at Organizations interested in learning more about creating a psychologically healthy workplace or applying for an award in their state, province or territory can visit

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