The release of Canada’s first national mental health strategy on May 8th brings an urgency to the issue of Workplace Mental Health and presents us with an opportunity to find solutions, Local 79 President Tim Maguire states in his letter to the City, TCHC and Bridgepoint Health
Workplace Mental Health
This week is Mental Health Awareness week across Canada, and the May 8th release of Canada’s first national mental health strategy, “Changing Directions, Changing Lives”, ushers in a new role for employers, employees and unions in the workplace. One of the strategic directions is to create mentally healthy workplaces and implement the Psychological Health & Safety Standard in private and public workplaces. (Mental Health Commission of Canada www.mentalhealthcommission.ca)
Workplace awareness of this crucial issue has been heightened in recent months, in part because of high profile individuals speaking out about their own personal experiences. This awareness presents us with an opportunity to find solutions.
While mental health has been an ongoing issue there is now an urgency to do more. We must have an open dialogue and clear policies in place to remove the stigma of mental health issues and remove the barriers to understanding, integration and communication.
People need guidance, training and encouragement. People struggling with mental illness need support and inclusion. Local 79 would like to meet to discuss the City of Toronto’s policies and commitment to action on the issue of workplace mental health.
Workplace mental health is an issue that affects every family. We need to support a practical understanding of mental health in the workplace, and managers need training and guidance on how to confront the stigma associated with workplace mental health. At-risk employees need to be supported and assisted at work during recovery.