Award-winning mental health program takes flight at one of the country’s busiest airports

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport’s initiative is designed to meet the needs of a divergent workforce, all of whom have high-stress jobs.

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When you work at a major airport, stress comes with the territory. That’s certainly true at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, which is the fourth busiest in the world and really is its own city—a campus with 64,000 total resident workers and more than 70 million passengers in a typical year.

Then throw in a pandemic, and clearly, DFW has its hands full. Indeed, the number of mental health referrals via DFW employee programs went from zero pre-pandemic to a height of 22 in June.

It’s no surprise, then, that employee mental health is a big priority for DFW, which rolled out a major new mental-health initiative for its employees in January. The award-winning program, Safe Landings, seeks to address the unique needs of DFW’s employees, including police, security, fire, and EMS units. These employees have to be prepared for anything from a medical emergency to a terrorist threat. “Part of the motivation was the realization that working at an airport is stressful,” says Ollie Malone, DFW’s vice president of human resources.

DFW is jointly owned by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth and directly employs 2,100 workers.

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