May 7-13 is the Canadian Mental Health Association's (CMAS) Mental Health Week. Every May for the last 67 years, Canadians in communities, schools, workplaces and the House of Commons have joined forces to #GETLOUD by speaking out and challenging the stigma and discrimination that too often accompany mental illness.
One in five Canadians experience a mental health issue or illness each year. That impacts all of us, in our communities, at home and at work. Countless Canadians aren't getting the care they need and then end up in emergency rooms looking for help.
With most adults spending more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, addressing mental health in the workplace is especially critical. For many years, Canadian unions have been involved in building workplaces that support mental as well as physical health and safety.
What unions like PIPSC are doing
- Promote awareness of mental health and negotiate access to mental health benefits and employee assistance programs to ensure workers get the help they need. Unions also help ensure workers with mental illnesses are accommodated at work.
- Work to address workplace harassment and bullying, directly with employers and with courses for members.
- Challenge discrimination at work, recognizing that sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism are risk factors for poor mental health.
What you can do
- Download your copy of PIPSC Mental Health Resource Guide! The Guide is a comprehensive tool-kit that will help you recognize the signs of mental illness, provides advice on starting these difficult conversations and includes information on where to access resources for support.
- Speak up. Talk openly about mental health. Talking openly about mental health, with people you feel safe with, can end the silence and shame around mental health problems.
- Be a friend to someone you know is struggling. You can be the friend who opens up a conversation.
- #GETLOUD on social media: check out the CMHA toolkit for shareable images and sample posts and tweets.
We all have an important role to play in ensuring that our workplaces are mentally healthy and with this guide you will be better equipped to deal with what is quickly becoming the mental health epidemic.
Together we can break the stigma!